#536: PLAYING FAVOURITES
I was going to be decidedly not funny today. I was going to update on how my whole freaking out about my existence thing is going. It's just not happening, though. Every time I start trying to put it into words, I find myself writing sentences about the long quality of autumn sunshine in the morning or poems called "Fingers and Time" or "Airbags and Bike Helmets" that should really be left unwritten.
If that doesn't make sense to you, don't worry, because it shouldn't. It doesn't make sense to me. What it does do is highlight how extremely good my brain is at avoiding difficult topics when it wants to. I've one-upped my brain, though, by cleverly writing about writing about the topic at hand without actually mentioning anything in particular so that I could at least tell you what kind of entry would have been here had I the power to be direct about it.
And yet, somehow, we are still no further ahead.
No matter, because I have another plan for today: I am going to list a collection of good things to go read, and then you will go read them, subconsciously connect the good works of others with me, and then maybe go away with the impression that I am good at this. Yes, I will ride the coattails of others in an attempt to hold your attention.
Does telling you my plan undermine its effectiveness? Yeah, it probably does. Fuck.
No matter. We will be no further ahead than we were the last time we were no further ahead a couple of paragraphs ago.
On with playing favourites!
I realized not long ago that my age of deep feelings has passed. For much of my life I was able to bring myself to an emotional boil by reading or writing. I used this as a kind of fuel and assured myself that in my agonies I was more intense than the person sitting next to me on the subway. But I have come to sympathize with those men who stood around saying little, who gathered around the open hoods of brown cars or around malfunctioning typewriters. That is how I remember them, circa 1980, when I was a slip of paper in a pullover shirt.
Sadly, this is what happens when you’ve been lying around like a slug for a month with a bum foot, and tut tut it looks like rain, and Stingray, who is thumbing through one of the 567,903,761 mail-order catalogs that were delivered to your bungalow against your will yesterday, holds it up and says, “I like this shirt,” and you say, “Fashion is a tool of the patriarchy,” and she says, “Well, I still like this shirt,” and you say, “Oh yeah? Well, you’re a tool of the patriarchy! A too-too-tool!”
I saw some photographs of New York City twenty-five years ago that evoked memories of that time—but more: they evoked a vast, overwhelming absence of memories. Not of New York necessarily, but of everything un-photographed, or un-photographable, which is nearly everything.
And let's say perhaps I was really hard up for water and all I had was some stuff that wasn't water but worked the same way and it happened to be in my mouth, that still doesn't justify me licking anything that isn't a lollipop. Worse comes to worst, I lick my own fingers and use them to seal an envelope, but I certain don't just wag my tongue over something by default.
Everyone knows there are two sublime moments that mark any vacation: that instance two weeks ahead of the actual journey when everyone is imagining how possibly wonderful an 8-hour drive, 2-hour ferry ride and 4-days worth of asking annoyed Canadians if anyone speaky english, and then, years later, looking at a photo of yourself in front of a sign that reads WELCOME TO CANADA: YOU CAN GO HOME NOW, holding two children’s heads in the parental equivalent of a half-nelson and you laugh and laugh and are suddenly silent, wondering if injecting the johnnie walker with a syringe is any faster, unaware that the closest thing you have is a turkey baster. That’s because you realize you are looking at the pictures alone, naked, in a furniture-less studio. The year is 2027. You don’t remember where it all went wrong.