Monday, May 16, 2011

Give It a Better Name and All Will Be Clearer

When you were hop-scotching into your late teens and early twenties, equally and thus painfully alert to certain young ladies and compelling, edgy writers who seemed to have something to say, you existed on a level close to pure reflex.  This is not to claim or even hint that your current position in the chronology escalator finds you less reflexive; it is more that experience has given you familiarity with and names for the stimuli that demand your attention.


The elderly bumble bee is still drawn to the flower.  You are still alerted to the presence of your flowers.  Having names for them all is a sufficient condition but not a necessary one.


Age--which is advanced perspective along with arthritis--provides a perspective which you are at liberty to accept or ignore out of hand.  If you were foolish as a younger man--and you were foolish with some dedication--having reached your present age does not preclude your evolution as a fool, but you are nevertheless better equipped to recognize the signs of your reflexive behavior and give names to them, much as Aristotle codified genus and species so many years ago.


You find more metaphor within the arc of your growth, in which components of your Self became (and still may become) opponents, reminding you with some amusement of the War of 1812, which you were always at a loss to understand, one probable reason why your grades in high school history were so abysmal.  You in fact recall walking through the halls of Fairfax High School with your dear chum, Clayton Somers, who went directly from Fairfax to Harvard, passing the ladies who were resident counsellors, who viewed you as some forerunner of The Odd Couple, wondering what basis there could have been for conversation between us, much less friendship.


You are perhaps pinning too much weight on The War of 1812 about which you know enough to write, The Brits burned down the White House and we fucked up Toronto, but nothing was really resolved, and a good many loyalists living in America moved to Canada and became Canadians.


This view of The War of 1812 might suggest you tend to see world events in cable TV sound bites, but that suggestion would miss its mark.  As a generality, you see reality as an enormous complication, subject to multifarious "takes" or visions, a prevalent one holding the working classes (of which you consider yourself a part) enduring oppressions from classes above it and below it, the above wanting to exploit it, the below distrustful of it and uncomfortable each time one if its minions appears in a suit.


This is not meant to imply your own personal dissatisfaction with where you are or with any perfervid sense of class rage, although you have had choice things to say about entitlement when you meet drivers of Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Ferraris, and Audi A-3s while competing for parking spaces in the Von's Market parking lot in the Montecito Lower Village.  But you have largely solved that issue by moving your patronage to the Gelson's Market in the Loreto Plaza.

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