"I really love America," said John Prine. "I just don't know how to get there any more."
Oh, man. Abortion. As so often, I look like a Democrat, but that's because I'm politically homeless. I think that the theory on both sides is individualistic lunacy. A fetus is not some alien intruder in a woman's body. Neither is it a brand new person planted in a convenient uterus by a person who, by virtue of his sex, is a priest of the Sky god. The fetus and the mother are the same person -- not just up until birth, if they get so far, but until long after it. Personhood is a thing that's achieved slowly, mostly after birth, and it's accomplished by love. I don't understand how anyone can look at a pregnant woman and think they're seeing two people: that seems to me like living in la-la land. So practically nothing either side says about this situation even makes sense to me. A pregnant woman is faced with the question: am I ripe for growing gradually into two people? Does that make sense? Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. In any case, bringing in the cops makes not the slightest bit of sense. This is not a question the police can helpfully decide.
Doesn't the father have rights? Hell no. "Rights" again: Americans are effing crazy on the topic. You don't have the right to dictate a woman's choices just because you had sex with her, or because you married her. You get a say by earning a say. If you've failed to earn it, then too bad. Maybe you should try harder. Maybe you should grow up.
Notice that I don't particularly think a woman has "rights" over her own body. I just think she is her own body. I have a very hard time seeing "rights" as having any useful bearing on the conversation.
There: hopefully I've offended everybody, now.
What is it that I want, that I might still get, in the twilight of my days? I asked myself that, and the answer came with unexpected readiness: I might understand. I gave up on that, somewhere in the welter of the "works and days of hands," and I shouldn't have. I look into the world, and it looks into me, and the periphery fills in with color and design, and the music is there, even if I can't hear it. That much is clear. I accepted, at some point, that I would never understand anything. I think it began when I failed wretchedly to understand spherical geometry. Some light went out, and for a long time no one -- well, no one I really paid attention to -- no one told me it could be relit.
I am not as clever as I was then. But I am also far less hagridden by anxiety and neediness. I don't give a damn what anyone thinks of me. I reach out my hand and my fingers close on something. There's a moment of knowing and of purchase, prise, affordance.