There is a scene in the movie 17 Again where the main character wakes up in Zac Efron’s body and realizes he no longer has any aches and pains. That is the most realistic part of the whole damn thing. Waking up old is painful! Boy, I wish the young one could be me. I’m still extremely active, but after an afternoon doing strength training, I sure hurt. Johann, my horse, is in his prime. He is a true athlete. I hope that he feels more like Zac Efron than Matthew Perry after a solid workout. Me? Not so much.
My fatal flaw has been to believe too much that another person is a friend when they aren’t, really. I lived in Germany in 1990 for a short time. I rented a room from a German man. We stayed up talking late one night. He told me that in his mind the biggest difference between Americans and Germans was that Americans decided upon immediate acquaintance with someone that they were friends, while Germans could know someone for ten years and would still only refer to that person as an acquaintance even if they had shared intimacies and closeness. I have certainly hewed closer to my birthplace than to the German, and it has caused me much heartache. So many people I have considered friends really have not been–too much trusting too soon. I suppose on the one hand it is the consequence of a less than ideal upbringing, but more people than not have less than ideal upbringings and they don’t become overly trusting. In spite of my desire to belong to any other nationality than American, I can’t escape this facet of Americanism I have inherited.
I joined this online group for “sustainable farming and homesteading.” Today I left the group. All anyone ever asked about was how to kill things they didn’t like. Today it was slugs. “I have slugs outside and they’re slimy. How can I kill large numbers of them?” Then the responders post in glee about global annihilation of these creatures that are just living their lives. The other day it was: “I have five acres with gophers on it. How do I kill them?” One of the responses was: “Gophers are stupid. Just get them to pop their heads up then bash them in.” It was always something. Some plant some human didn’t like. Some animal some human didn’t like. Then post after post about how to destroy whatever it was. It made me sick.
Goddamn I hate humans. We are the most destructive things on this planet. Who the hell are we to decide that this planet is ours to kill? Our sense of superiority is so embedded we can’t even see it. No other creature destroys something just because it can all of the time. Only humans. We tell ourselves the lie that we are superior to justify our continued destruction.
Fifty years from now when there is virtually nothing left alive on the planet will there be anything left to notice just how stupid we were? I doubt it.
You go about your business, pick up those groceries on the way home, drive past another 1000 cars, arrive at your destination, never once looking up to notice that those around you are dissolving just like you, are bathed in melancholy and disconnection.
I think I would almost rather have the in-the-cave dysfunctional cheeriness than this out-of-the-cave knowing stable wretchedness.
I am beginning to think about shutting down my blog. I started it at a very different time in my life. I have since climbed many mountains, and have fallen off many steep cliffs. And while I remember what life was like in the foothills, wind blowing my hair about, cheeks rosy from exertion, these eyes are not those naive eyes of yesteryear. I am another person. Back then, I discovered that when I wrote for an audience, I found a voice. The words poured forth from my fingers and brain. I couldn’t get enough. Then, as the mountains grew steeper and more treacherous, it became more and more difficult to find that voice. For a long time it was time that kept me from writing here.
Now it is something different. I no longer have any desire for an audience. Sometimes when a person climbs many mountains, and they fall off many cliffs, clinging to the edges with a lone finger, barely hanging on, each breath a tremor that could make them tumble to their death on the stones below, pieces of them don’t make it. Parts of them are not able to climb up onto that ledge when they manage to find their way back onto their path. In my case, I lost whatever part of my ego felt the need for an audience.
And so, here I am. When I write, I don’t want to share it with the world. I write for myself. When I write for an audience, I feel such an urge to censor that the writing becomes stilted and confined. I don’t like stilted and confined. It does not agree with me.
I have until October to make this decision. It is then that the annual renewal is due. I am mulling it over. I shall see.
It occurs to me that most people in our culture have lost sight of the fact that in chasing money, we are essentially chasing things. Someone wants a thing, and their desire for more money is the desire to have as many things as they want, when they want them. That’s what having more money brings. I’m not talking about the people at the very bottom of our capitalist triangle who have to struggle just to survive, those for whom a few dollars would mean the ability to stay very basically comfortable. I’m talking about any level above having what one needs to survive easily: a safe place to sleep, food, and health well-being. “Security” as it has been sold to us, is theoretically having enough money in the bank to ensure the safe place to sleep, food, and health. Yet for most it goes beyond that into wanting to have things. Ask anyone with dreams of riches and it is the lying on the beach or yacht anytime that they want, the clothes, the jewelry, the gadgets, the cars, and on and on, that fill their dreams. Pinterest is filled with photos of all the things that humans want. People will spend hours creating these online photo albums of all the stuff they desire. (In the meantime, while posting these things and dreaming about them, the interactions with humans and other non-human animals around them are limited.)
Yesterday I dropped off some stuff at the donation center. We are moving so we are getting rid of stuff. I have felt this immense urge to purge. What is all this stuff? The line at the place was cars deep, everyone ridding themselves of things, some of which had to have been wanted at some point. Either that or or they were ridding themselves of stuff someone gave them either out of a sense of duty to give, some obligation, or some other self-serving necessity. Perhaps for some the thing was given in love and received as such, but at this point, the thing is now being discarded, filling a warehouse, filling a landfill, being sold into places where the abundance of things is not as profuse as it is in the good, ol’ USA. Stuff, stuff, everywhere. In the meantime, we destroy the earth to build enormous buildings to house the things. We rape and pillage the land to carve roads and fill the land with things, things that will rot in piles long after we are gone.