Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Numbers

I'm sorry, but the numbers matter, they really do. You can't hammer a perfect world out of a few happy incidents. Things have to add up: demand has to meet supply. The numbers are inexorable.


The panic of being stranded away from one's tribe: when I arrived, it was all pale skin, tee shirts with eagles and American flags, belt buckles, bill caps. I was wearing jeans and suspenders too, but the suspenders were in a harlequin-check, and there were sandals on my feet, and I wasn't fooling anyone. Deep relief when some brown-skinned people showed up, and men wearing what we used to call Bermuda shorts. (What do they call them now, I wonder? I haven't heard “Bermuda shorts” for an age. Maybe just they're just “shorts” now?) In aggregate, the tribal markers are overwhelming, even when all intentions are benign. I must remember that, when I'm in the heart of Portland, among my own, and I meet an outlander: special kindness and attentiveness is called for.


Much to do today: the end of summer and the advent of the rainy season are looming. If it's not painted in the next few weeks, it's not painted till next summer.

Maybe I'm trying to change too much at once. But I'm so tired of temporizing and shilly-shallying. I just want to point the boat in its final direction and row, row till I drop. Still that deep respiration, under every other sound. And the years are too short.


Zhoen said...

Lies, damn lies, statistics.

You get what everyone gets, you get a lifetime.

Kristen Burkholder said...

Every year, those of us in the great North (well, we aren't in Labrador, but it's pretty far up there for the U.S., those in the Pacific like yourself, and me here in the Atlantic, Maine) get fitful and peevish this time of year for all we didn't get done in the past 12 weeks.

I just wanted to let you know I hear you, brother, and I'm glad you're writing about it.