Tuesday, May 27, 2014


You knew what you were going to say, if anyone came.

No one came.  You sat in Room 160B, The Old Little Theater, nursing a coffee you'd picked up from The Daily Grind, thinking over the senselessness that began last Friday, sending first the small, college town of Isla Vista, and then, as the news went viral, much of the country, after a disturbed young man acted out a disturbing amount of destruction against young men and women of his age.

Senseless acts often have grief tied to their consequences, much in the manner of tin cans tied to the bumpers of the get-away cars in which newlyweds depart from their wedding reception in search of a honeymoon and a new, remarkable life.  The tin cans of grief cause an unforgettable clatter in the Cultural Awareness.  The tin cans of celebration remind the newlyweds of the pranking well-wishers who are serenading them off to their future.

If you take the time to investigate, the Cultural Awareness is filled to the brim with occasions of grief, some of them, such as Katrina, categorized as acts of nature, others, such as the World Trade Center on 9/11, acts of deliberate violence, yet others, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of March 25, 1911, the result of negligence.

The irreducible denominator is people.  To be sure, there were disasters before there were people, fires, volcanoes erupting, earthquakes, ice ages, meteors striking Earth.  When people came along, man-made disasters came with us, pelting us with the whim of our deranged visions, our tendencies toward error, and sheer dumb circumstance.

The grief-struck survivors are for some time, perhaps  the rest of their life, insulated with the tin cans of anger, guilt, bewilderment, possible desire for revenge, a possible resolve to lead a more productive life (whatever that may mean to them), and a possible resolve to lead a more engaged life (whatever that may mean to them).

In less than two weeks, you'll be at the one-hundred-twenty-sixth-month anniversary of having been made aware the unwanted squatter of cancer had taken up residence within you, and its eviction from the premises.  This was arguably the most traumatic event of your life.  It is by no means the same thing as the results of last Friday evening in Isla Vista, but it was enough to get you to experience the shock of awareness, the subsequent fear, and the bargaining with a Force that is odds of probability.

In addition, you had the reminder, four times a year for the next five years, that cancer might have enjoyed its stay with you so much that it opted to return.  With all this in mind, particularly the fear of the unwanted return, you with some vigor stopped bargaining.  Instead, you took a stand  Some might call your stand a risk or a gamble.  No radiation.  No chemo.

Still not in the same league as Friday night in IV, merely an eye-opener, one that dislodges an avalanche of associations, decisions, and even resolutions.

Reality is fraught with event, some of it as senseless and violent as last Friday.  For the longest time, you have turned to story as a way of finding some way to approach Reality with a working philosophy of operation.  The more you learn--and you admit the learning is by inference--from story and the men and women who make and have made them, the more you see yourself edging toward the margins of any crowd or group, jostled there by your own wish to do as well for your species as you can without bringing down any landslides upon your head.

You are not by nature a loner, have no desire or reason to live as though you were one.  You wish to experience, interact, observe, get some verbal portraits down on paper--yes, paper, not screen or ebook.

Yesterday, you spoke of pole stars in the heavens you see.  In addition to those, you see the short stories of Katherine Mansfield, close on to a hundred years old, shimmering, beckoning.  Of late, you are traveling with her collected stories in your car, for reading at those solitary moments at coffee shops, where, when the coffee is good, the atmosphere seems an extension of your desk, and there is the study of re-reading to be done.

Had there been anyone there, in Room 160B, Old Little Theater, you'd have told them the administration cancelled all classes for this day, that you'd stopped by, promptly at six, to see if anyone wanted to say anything about the fraught nature of Reality, and that you were there to listen.

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