Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ha! I'm back . . .

I'll bet you didn't think I would be! (well, I had plenty of doubts myself) There were so many veiled and naked references to death and suicide and lives unfinished and thoughts too. I almost stayed home, except that the danger of losing my mind there just about equalled the danger of the highway (although it sure did seem that the drivers were aggressive, and boxing me in all over the place). Then there was that strange way I have learned to pray. Abusing Names rather than to recite them in awe. 

Well, as I've said before, I think that BIG ONE, that Banger in the sky, has to get me at least better than I get myself. And, I mean well. And to abuse a Name is so much more mild than to abuse some one in some Name.

I know I've got it all backwards here, but I am turning a corner of sorts. I stayed up late last night, which effectively avoided that wine with which I both kill off the utter exhaustion of the killer day and lubricate mass quantities of food I prepare to my precise gustatory lustings. It is a rush and race against my limits, of hunger pangs and dull frustration and plain exhaustion, among feeding the cats (which have been condemned to hell outdoors, but seem actually to thrive there) and fish, and then the dishes and I'm out.

But last night, when I started this, I had to labor mightily to prevent this post from becoming book length - be forwarned, I haven't yet succeeded - which leaves me very very little time this morning. I also did realize, this morning, that I've run out of underwear and socks again, and I have a great supply which only seeming yesterday I did wash!

The shocker was that my own true prayer got answered, in its way. My niece, who has developed stunning strength in so many ways, has developed power in words as well. And I guess, on the basis of her strong written telling, the prosecutor was able to lay out the case which might put her father in jail for 40 years. So, he's going to jail on lucky Friday 13, pleading guilty rather than to go to trial against his stronger child. And sparing my niece the stand.  There's grace in that, not his.

This I was not prepared for. Far better than corrupted indulgences from that other Church, this is what Coyote wants who speaks the truth because he can't help it. No mediated authority to calculate the dole of proper pleasure allowed here on earth. Proper suffering in the next. I felt much joy in the news, which had nothing to do with revenge; since I'd forgiven him long since. He's suffered boundaryless his entire life. Dylexic. Pimped out at age 5. Scorned as stupid, which he's not. I'll work now to accept my sister back, and hope there can be some awakening for her.

She felt such tenderness toward his suffering. Such Marian obligation to take on his hurt which manifested only as bombast and all manner of abuse and over certianty, like Limbaugh, say, or Bush, Cheney Rumsfeld and the rest, though they are saints in comparison, and only harm, well, just all of us. 

What terrible lack of feminine competency did his presence fill?  Does theirs? That is a mystery too deep for me. But I do know that it must be the reciprocal of not instantly believing her daughter at her very simple word, and banishing him therefore from her heart forever on that spot. This I cannot believe.

You know, as I drive all hyper vigilant - mostly because I'd left my house such a mess and this bloggy thought unfinished, and like dirty underwear on the way to the hospital, these aren't the clues you want anyone to focus on if you don't come back - I have to confess that it's the young women who seem always to be the aggressive ones. They seem to have no sense of stopping distance, and what might happen when something surprises the one in front of them.

I wonder if this is just a matter of practice, and not having transgressed enough in boyish youthful sprees to understand where the adrenalin should kick in. Or maybe there's less adrenalin in the first place, or maybe it has to do with why women tend more to bake and measure and men to guess and taste.  The gay among us know how to clean their house and underwear, and maybe measure perfect martinis. Are women just focused through the car, not on it? God, as Man, must feel different to a woman. So, I will and always must suspend judgement.

I'm trying not to generalize in too obnoxious a way, but it isn't always obvious to me who's the hunter and who the hunted; who the aggressor and who full of reticent propriety, comparing man to woman. Or which gender tends more romantic, which lofts higher to fall harder, which plays more all in. I just don't know. But I do know in all my many million miles of driving, the men might flip you off, but they know exactly what they're doing, while I sense these women drivers just have no real sense of where the bounds are. Not all women drivers. I'm not that old. Just these ones who endanger my life.

While making a stereotype, I'm trying to say that stereotypes don't hold. For sure, I don't want to go way back to where hysteria as mental illness was thought to be a feminine weakness. I know these women can drive. I just don't sense they get the machinery, quite, and its limitations. And they seem always to be good looking, the ones who are so aggressive.

OK, so that must be it. A sense of power, granted by our social ecosystem, of catching what you want. And withering the rest? I'll stick on that for a moment.

My sister must have some nun-like need to abnegate herself. Some shrouded subservience, and her daughter therefore is something of her very self that she fears to nurture. I wish I could simply ask her. I doubt I can ever understand what lives inside any nun, though I can imagine it as remedy to insanity of the sort which lurks in me. A sublimation of all missing boundaries toward one sweet bliss which must be all in all. I don't have such a hard time with that. I'd be a monk, if only I could believe. My daughter's roommate, mirabile dictu, plans to become a nun against all protestations from her friends. I'll ask her.

So, here we are in this economic meltdown, where the positive result I hope for gets contradicted by big elephants in the room. I hope for the end of corporations too big to fail, which get trapped in the logic of marketing Hummers when clearly it's way too late for that to be other than insane. Because they have no other way to fat profits in the near term.

Most run by men, and who knows whether Carly and Hillary were fired for being women. Or not? Why did so many people assume Meg Whitman when Sarah Palin is what was meant? There's wrenching struggle going on right there, and so I'll have to pray for a woman on top for just a while longer. I think the role is no longer defined, even as man's role plays itself out.

I hope for some end to competition which drives toward the bottom instead of at some victory top. I'm sick to death of dreary sameness, just as when as a youth I took my first motorcycle trip out of town, and off the highways discovered Miracle Miles that all looked just the same city after city, town after town. Ticky tacky on steroids. (I somehow have always managed to preserve shocked innocence where more normal folk have long become inured or enamored) I think I might have been among the first in my neighborhood to taste MacDonalds, and I liked it as much as the rest. But somehow I learned to avoid it first as well. I've back slid.

I look for smaller corporate interests, where workers can relate to the company mission more directly. I look for something other than the Wall Street fed logo kitchens which first destroy all local flavor, and then themselves go out of business, as Wall street money chases after some newer fad. I'm sick of markets cornered, and customers addicted, who, like so many zoned out junkies, keep eating poison fast food even after it costs as much or more than the well prepared stuff down at the local diner.

Or is it that we still begrudge the tip? I tell my boss I'm done, I quit, I've struggled for a year now - it's just about that anniversary - to master good boundaries because my health demands it.  He knows the tale - I lost my very mind, and by God I'm wired right now and I'll lose it in your face if you don't get a clue, terrorist of soul that I've become.

I think there's plenty of room left in that Gap (somewhere I read that it means the gap in crotch for hippy women, signal there for men, from jeans) between labor inputs and price (these logo kitchens have and need no skill in the kitchen, and still they go out of business???!!! With lines out the door and around the block!!??  What's the return on investment that they demand, and who's black hole are we filling? Newspapers used to demand profits of fifty percent . . .). 

I think there's room for local flavor, Jesus Christ almighty. But we mistrust our neighbor, as that Nazi hearted Jew, who might be asking for too much take; whose cashbox makes us narratively jealous. I think there's room for a race to the top (you should try chicken wings in Buffalo, where you have to make them good or not at all. Or bread in France, where the price is set, and so the competition is all about the quality) I think our neighbors cheat us less every time than do those great abstractions, some living in mansions we watch on TV, some in the sky, some in our heart of trust.

The biggest elephant in the room now is Walmart, that predatory pox upon the land, whose capital is all available for cash flow losses, for so long as there is local business to put out of it. Like any parasite, it requires good fat to feed on. And yet their stock keeps going up, while every other one continues down toward a bottom not yet plumbed.

Is there any hope to be found in this inexorable logic?  When all that's left is margin squeezed out trash for sale along acres and acres of self-service shelves way out even beyond sprawl to avoid the taxes, and whose parking lots look like Black Friday every day? The desperate served by the desperate in the desolate wasteland acres of asphalt. To discover sameness at the lowest cost. Value approximately nil, though calculate in the wasted businesses and lives down below in China, and the outsourced cost of welfare and oil for transport of shoppers and goods and you have to wonder why we are so happy still to carry all these externalities upon our backs. As though cost could be whittled so low without cost. 

It's loss of trust in neighbors who might smell (Zizek again there) which drives this crazy logic. It's pasting ourselves to this view from our wombs, and never stepping out of doors, evermore to talk. Ah, but the womb has quickened, and the view become, mildly, interactive.  Surely someone has to put a stop to this. Charge for news! And net-neuter the bloggers. Before it gets too late.

I see this moment of Walmart's overbloated triumph rather as the death knell of a cancer with no more healthy cells to devour, just like the medieval structure of the Church will not outlive its indulgences. There is no buying time from hell by obedience, when what is wanted is true spirit in the face of what's staring you down here and now. There is no keeping free when your own subjected victim can rise up and accuse you in stronger language than you ever could bluster from your pulpit (oh yes, he was a preacher). There is no sin more serious than to abandon your daughter for or to any man god. This is not moral rocket science. But there is and must be forgiveness everywhere. No sin without redemption. It's the coin is wrong is all.

And no matter how outsized your Hummer, there is death in aggressive driving. Neither can your beauty convince me of your truth.

OK, so I've got to close off this Walmart connection. It's actually true that once, toward the lower half of a long and wayward trek across our continent by motorcycle, I landed in what looked to be the quaint small village of, was it, Bentonville Arkansas? I swear to you, I had no idea of where I was, or what was Walmart, which had not quite made it to my part of the rust belt by then. I parked along the village green, as I recall, and was attracted to "Sam Walton's
Five and Dime" or something like it, which looked all cute and homespun. Inside was a very gracious and homey handsome old gentleman, perfectly eager to chat even with someone dressed all black in  leather.

I remember being disoriented and confused by what seemed a small museum and collection of memorabilia and signed handshake photos from presidents. I got a sense of Amway, and something amiss. Something Texas oilman predatory. But the old gentleman - I think he must have been dressed in cowboy plaid - in any case, he had the feel of a checkered tablecloth  - was very knowledgeable and kind.

I rode dazed out of town toward the Western sunset, and was dumbfounded that this little village was dwarfed by warehouses and trucks which seemed to fill a horizon beyond earth's curve. So that's the thing we're being sold. Some "honest value" with a down home face. And out the back a warehouse all computer sorted for maximum efficiency. Where whittling wood might fit in like a shy one at some orgy, but you're meant to feel that it could.

OK, look, I can't write nearly so well in the evening. The day has already worn me out by now. This race for value, is all I'm saying, is a serpent eating its tail. There is no winning there, but that someone else gobbled whole. There is no fair transaction that leaves the labor of its terms out in the cold. There is only a black hole in the end, where value once was thought to be.  This should be drop dead obvious by now, but clearly isn't yet.

We thought we could make our houses grow, but that their value got inflated by the overheated air on which they bloated on and up in scale. We thought we could keep up with the treadmill, if only we could make price keep balance on a scale with stuff once made by hands. 

I don't know what I'm trying to say about women, except that its not always the men who are guilty. Yes, by very definition we are. Except in China where abominable snowmen get raped by woman (you can tell I'm too pooped to google the references anymore, but that headline is out there), that's something you can't do. But we're all getting screwed by your trade in common bargains, ladies. Your mistrust of the men who would take advantage, when it isn't swooning self abandon or worse, has reached the same extreme as men's rapacity. 

It's all about the boundaries.

A very funny comic I caught on the way to the news made some nasty comment about Islamic terrorists, who would never be that way if their women weren't so subjugated. "Oh no you're not" they'd hear on the way out to take on the world. There's truth there to what balance is missing. 

And I want to say that whether covered head to toe in black, or stark naked all over the internet, the message is the same and drop dead obvious. That men are helpless in that power. That boundaries broken need fixing with extreme care. That absolute cover, like any absolute truth in word or attempted deed, can only distort the actions of a man to fanatical absurdity in reaching out to make some sublimated conquest. That what's very most cheap about us - our naked form - should not be traded so cheaply that it's nothing personal at all. Nor covered up as if we didn't know.

I'm tired.


Bicks said...

It's interesting to read your perspectives and questionings....often questions that I myself would think, yet be afraid to verbalize. questions nonetheless

Anonymous said...

Was an interesting article, thank you..