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So out here in the real world I did time this summer in the prison of grief and loss over the death of my wife last April and then the added shock of losing a close friend and colleague  in August to the same disease that took my wife. The details don’t matter now and I’m really tired of going over the whys and wherefores.   Suffice to say that whatever I did this summer was infused with an odd mixture of numbness and heightened awareness.  There were times when mortality loomed frightenly large and there were other times when time seemed not to matter at all. 

I am weary of contemplating weighty things.  I find I have nearly no patience for philosophical or theological discussions.  Politics and finance seem like a waste of time and the news of the day of passing interest only.  This is not to say I’m not engaged.  I still read the news and I still get my New York Times fix nearly every day and I still pursue CNN and such with verve.  But there’s no urgency, no passion for it.  It’s not life and death any more.  It’s not worth my effort to get my blood up in an argument over let’s say, health care, for example.  Although I’m going through my own personal battle with the System right now, I just don’t see the point in jumping into the debate on the Internet or anywhere else. Nothing any of us says here will matter or effect change.  We are like cats who purr to comfort themselves – all this Sturm und Drang – meaningless.  We are not in control.  We are not sitting in the Wells of Power.  So why bother?  We elected people to go out and maybe do what we want them to do, but more often than not we don’t get what we want out of them. And they fuck things up and cash the giant checks and the sun still rises and we all still have to go out and make a living. And this is the way the world is and this is how it will end. 

So knowing all that and not wanting to slip totally into despair, I choose to get impassioned about fun things like music, movies and art; things of beauty that fill that windless dark of my soul with light. Things that those grey people in the Wells of Power cannot fully enjoy or understand. Things they mostly cast a dismissive eye towards whilst secretly wishing they could embrace them with the same mysterious joie de verve as the artistic and more sensitive among us do. I don’t feel badly for those dim drones wandering the halls of congress or the lobbies of Wall Street – they live comfortable lives of social inequity. They have it good. But so do a lot of the rest of us.  Our reward is not in the pay check or the lavish life. Our reward is the ability to See the world around us with wonderment; to have the time and temperament to revel in the small and the immense.  Granted we don’t always do this.  But that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we have the ability. While some schmuck of an intern at Bear Sterns will likely never be able to contemplate anything deeper than the bottom of his 5 dollar Vente half Caff/skinny latte from Starbucks.  But again, no pity for those people because they certainly don’t pity folks like me.  Folks like me are suckers; losers in life, as far as they are concerned.   And that’s just fine.

The big thing I learned while getting through this summer was that life isn’t competition or a test or something just to get through so you can move on to the next thing.  Life is what you make it, what you’re happy with, and who and what you leave behind. When life ends, either people have to clean up after you or they can build upon what you left.  


Sep. 8th, 2009 07:10 am (UTC)
Well said.