Monday, September 7, 2015

On a Holiday

I haven't been writing much, mostly I have been living my life and getting to position for "later".

I am the new and proud inhabitant of a approximately 750 sq ft (70 m2) studio apartment instead of a 1500 sq foot house.  The two young men who I have been living for the past 19 years  with have made their own arrangements for now.

The move itself was reasonably painful,  around ten loads to the local goodwill, over 1,000 pounds to the dump.  Good riddance to all, the pain was in the concrete examples of the crap that I thought was necessary and bought, only to be discarded in the end.

So now I am stripped to the minimums, and I feel remarkably good about it.  A kitchen table/desk, a laptop, a couch, two kitchen chairs, a bench, a bed, a headstand, six framed wall hangings, two lamps, kitchenware, and old wooden 10 gallon wine barrel that serves nicely as a end table.  I still have my TV (while the owners and players are all a bunch of overpaid prima donnas, the game is still a great game) plugged into an air antenna and a couple of other racks racks for storage.

I kept a couple of books, but mostly I read on my Kindle.  The 160 books that it currently contains would just take too damn much room.  The cell phone is my means of communication, I do have a bare bones high speed internet only connection.

My music is played over bluetooth to a middling decent speaker.  I may have to upgrade this, but truth be told, I am probably just going to get a good set of headphones instead.

Now that I have finished, I can state that the first step of the "collapse now, avoid the rush" is not at all painful.  You might want to consider it.

1 comment:

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

Congratulations on beginning the next phase of your life. I enjoyed reading this, and found it thought-provoking. Looking at your earlier entries, I was reminded of Ugo Bardi, whom I've read in years past, and found the website.

Maybe you'd enjoy the following poem by James Tate, which also deals with leaving stuff behind. The last line here approximates, to humorous effect, the ending of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". Tate's narrator has a visionary dream outside a Nova Scotia village - just as Frost's line is ALMOST quoted, there is ALMOST an internal rhyme in the poem's title - the town's name is pronounced goosh.

I Left My Couch in Tatamagouche

I desired lemonade—it was hot and I had been walking for hours—
but after much wrestling, pushing and shoving, I simply could not get my
couch through the restaurant door. Several customers and the owner and
the owner's son were kinder than they should have been, but finally
it was time to close and I urged them to return to their homes, their
families needed them (the question of who needs what was hardly my field
of expertise). That night, while sleeping peacefully outside the train
station on my little green couch, I met a giantess by the name of Anna
Swan. She knelt beside my couch and stroked my brow with tenderness. She
was like a mother to me for a few moments there under the night sky. In
the morning, I left my couch in Tatamagouche, and that has made a big difference.

——James Tate

Tate could have titled this poem “The Couch Not Taken”, but that would have been too obvious.

What are we told of the events that led our narrator to this life-changing decision? First, the restaurant customers and the proprietors make large efforts to attempt to include him, to help him get the couch into the restaurant. At last our narrator urges them to return to their homes and families — a recognition that their concerns are as important as his own.

The train station the narrator sleeps outside is now, in real life, a bed-and-breakfast. Anna Swan, the giantess who extends maternal affection to him in his dream, is a historical person who was seven feet five and a half inches tall when fully grown. She was born in 1846. She and her husband, similarly statured Confederate veteran Martin Van Buren Bates, met when a circus he was appearing in came to Halifax, NS. They toured Europe and the United States and settled in Ohio.

The turning point is when Anna Swan's giant hand caresses his brow while he sleeps. In her largeness she stands for the maternal archetype, all our foremothers. The narrator is then able to feel his connection with the rest of humanity — note that this issue of connection with the human family, and the narrator's alienation from it, has already been raised by the line “their families needed them (the question of who needs what was hardly my field of expertise)”. He leaves his literal couch behind — in other words, begins to live a new life, no longer burdened with the events of his past.

In an analysis of Frost's The Road Not Taken, David C. Ward points out the emphasis of that poem on individuality. Tate's protagonist, however, is liberated by his realization of his participation in our common humanity. As the Preacher said ages ago, "to everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."