please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

My Photo
Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What I Am

There was a report, on the local news a few years ago, about a program designed to divert young firebugs from further arson. It followed the progress of two young boys, and at the end of the segment, both were asked what they had learned.
One of them said something to the effect of, "Well, I learned that I shouldn't set fires because I might hurt myself or someone I love," and the other one said, "I MUST NOT SET FIRES BECAUSE I MUST NOT SET FIRES, " pretty much. All of this said with wide, barely-in-control eyes.
The difference, for some reason, wasn't remarked upon by the news anchors because they are idiots. All they saw was a darn good program that was really helping the kids there, and not the multiple-arsonist-to-be that had just been profiled. The program had somehow forgotten that anyone, really, can say what other people want to hear.

It is a human conceit that the sea is cruel. I've spent years too damn many telling anyone who will listen: it is what it appears to be to You, on any given day, and that is all. However, never turn your damn back on it, as it is as unpredictable as anything or anyone can be. It already tried to take me once.
I saw a couple of little shits the other day at the beach. One said to the other, "If we get stuck, it's not my fault." I chuckled.
"I know what those evil little boys are going to do," I said to Bee. I knew damn well. I'd already done it.
It's the number in which you challenge the sea to come and get you, and the sea, depending on the time of day, time of year, and the whim of that moment, will almost inevitably appear to do so, and depending on the level of your foolishness, it can be deadly.
One could say that it's the opposite of what everyone else does though; backing into traps of their own making, protesting ignorance the whole time.

In the Neko Case song 'Mood to Burn Bridges', there's the line "So many people who live in my town mind to my business and none of their own. They are so happy that I've done wrong, I'm surprised they don't turn around and thank me."
It's a funny thing about being me: there is no way to do it that will please everybody, to put it mildly. I've been told by friends (or those who purport to be such) many times over the years that I ought to not maybe be so critical of other people.
But on the other hand, a fair amount of them seem to enjoy my hyper-critical-ness (whether for its usefulness or its amusement value), and a lot of the time, I'm only saying what other people won't, or feel they can't, despite the fact that they agree.
So when it turns around suddenly and becomes a case of me poisoning the well of goodwill, I'm a little grumbly about it, since I also tend to be the person likely to give the worst bore in every crowd at least one serious listen, just to see if they're worth listening to, and the more disliked by the majority you are, the more likely I am to give you several chances. And besides, the accusation makes me narrow my eyes: it's always from someone who would rather talk shit behind the backs of their prey, or do it with passive-aggression. I spoil the game by doing it out loud.

There's a couple fundmental things at odds here: on one hand, the fact that I truly do view there being something worth while in everyone, and on the other, the fact that I have every right to call bullshit on people, and there's a lot of it. Just like they have the right to disagree when I do it, but can I never, ever again hear some shiny-eyed believer tell me You can't say that?
Because the thing is: I'm often wrong about many things, and I gladly admit it when that's the case. However, I'm rarely wrong about people.

And: on those occasions when I know that I've done wrong, gone too far and burned too many bridges, I generally interpret it as the universe telling me to just shut the fuck up for a while.
But, if I were to try to glean some larger lesson from the whole thing, what would it be? That I hold my tongue more than I already do? It may not seem like it, but I routinely drive myself near ulcers letting people make their own mistakes.
Naw, as always, I'm not not gonna be myself: it's impossible. Say it, let it be done, and prepare for the consequences.

It is a human conceit that the ocean is kind. I was standing on the deck of Bachelor Pad Two the other day, watching the sun go down over the ocean. It was one of those moments when everything gets ridiculously sparkly, shortly before the whole enterprise becomes too bright to set eyes upon. It's like the world is playing the most beautiful goodbye song, entirely composed of one long, perfect note.
The fact is, that particular part of the north coast is the only home I've had for the length of my entire life. The house will be missed, and the reasons for why the last week in May was all the more chance I'll get to see it have led me to, for the time being, cease speaking to my father.
But the important part is, I know that beach now like it's part of my own body, and I'll keep returning to it because it's unique among beaches. Talking to the sea is talking to yourself is talking to the universe.

I was sort of parenthetically talking about this the other day to a relatively well-known local artist. We were talking about our mutual dislike of another local artist's work, and I said that she was "too self-absorbed; well duh-she's an artist."
My conversational companion, who earlier had been all in favor of bluntness, now was registering something that looked like outrage. I moved quickly.
I reminded the table that art requires self-absorption, to an extent. It all begins with us talking to ourselves. The dialogue in our heads (or talking to the voices) is the origin of all of it, and the only problem is when you forget about the rest of the world, and spend all of your expression in that familiar love song to yourself that bad art is: The Artist Congratulates Themself For Being An Artist.
Crisis averted. At least we're just talking about those other people, eh?

Mister White has been writing a great deal lately. The Obits will be back soon, with final thoughts on the tragic demise of a band that previously had been available for weddings, birthdays, bar/bat mitzvahs and retirement parties. My own thoughts are scattered in this period of deep transition. I haven't been able to adequately put down here all those fine thoughts I bin' thinkin', but it was worth a shot.
See you soon.



Post a Comment

<< Home