Only three days into Phase One of the Great Re-Opening, and I am sentimental for the lock down. Remember when we couldn’t go outside? When the streets looked like a scene from Escape from New York and you could get a train car to yourself on the subway?
Or when the people took to the streets and everything got boarded up and our thoughtful mayor sent us daily notes on who was boss. (It didn’t turn out to be him.)
And, most importantly, how all of this justified my habit of hanging out on the fire escape with a Jamo and Bud. (Peanut butter and jam, we drinking folk call it.)
But that’s all over now. The jack hammers are back. (I actually missed them a bit.) And soon all of those faux New Yorkers will be giving up on their beach walks, soaking in the sublime shades of another perfect fucking sunset, and pretend they never left.
For those who follow my blog, you know that my focus tends to whirl about, citing random words, places and ideas, all in service of the “writing process”. Occasionally I get political, such as my blogs on the horrifying carnage at Sandy Hook and the election of Trump. I wandered into that realm last week with a fake magazine interview with Donald Trump. Swordsmen: Drawn & Quarterly.
The following day, my computer had been disconnected from our wifi service, and when I logged back on, I found the following options:
I was surprised that, first, the FBI were in the neighborhood; second, that they would actually name their wifi “FBI Surveillance Van”, and third that they were monitoring my blog. The third thought didn’t really coalesce until the next day when Facebook rejected my attempt to promote the post on their platform because it “violated their policy on promoting social issues.”
Promoting social issues? Isn’t that what writers are supposed to do? Or is it all code for them being pissed that the Russian hackers breached their sincerity? Whatever it may be, I have another Swordsmen Issue coming up, hopefully as much on point with my writing process as it is with our oxymoronic world, bitted up with bots and lies.
There is a lot of talk going on about change – including blacked-out Instagram posts and demonstrations in the street.
As lovely as compassion and understanding might sound, it remains a fairy tale. The truth of our world is not guided on principles of empathy but by the barbaric tenets of money.
The rich will stay rich and the poor will remain poor, and those nasty little one-per-centers will do everything in their power to keep it that way. Nominal things might be allowed – statues removed, proclamations signed – but nothing will actually change.
Instead they will adopt phrases like “radical compassion” until this thing passes and they can get back to their yachts.
McPhedran: We have not received our tickets.
StubHub: Oh no! I’m really sorry to hear that. Quick question. Did you make the purchase with Stubhub or Ticketbis?
McPhedran: Stubhub redirected us to Ticketbis.
StubHub: Ticketbis is in the process of transiting in the Stubhub platform. Until that is completed, you need to contact them directly.
McPhedran: Give us the number we should call.
StubHub: They do not have a direct line.
McPhedran: How do we contact them?
StubHub: I will mark my message as urgent.
McPhedran: Do you understand that we need to leave for this event in 75 minutes?
StubHub: Thanks for that. But this is a Ticketbis order
McPhedran: Stubhub redirected us to this site.
StubHub: The only other option is to send an email.
McPhedran: Do you understand that we need to go in an hour?
StubHub: Can I have your best contact number?
McPhedran: I already sent it to you.
StubHub: Is there anything else I can help you with?
McPhedran: This is a help center, correct? You need to help us with this problem.
StubHub: Seeing that I have done all I can and there is not anything else I can help you with today, have a great day.
McPhedran: “Have a great day”? Is that a joke?
StubHub.: The thing is, McPhedran, I am not able to get the tickets from my end.
McPhedran: The thing is, StubHub, we already paid you for the tickets.
StubHub: I do wish I could do more and get these tickets over to you.
McPhedran: After all that is your business.
Anne Imhof’s “Faust”, German’s 2017 entry at the Venice Bienalle, offers little on the surface, except the surface. It’s more about the people watching than the performers – all the legs passing by.And the arms and hands. And then it is high above on a glass platform.
Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose, a chronicle of frontierswoman Mary Hallock Foote, offers reflections on how life unfolds:
Time hung unchanging or with no more visible change than a slow reddening of a poison oak leaves, an imperceptible darkening of the golden hills. It dripped like a slow percolation through limestone, so slow that she forgot it between drops. Nevertheless, every drop, indistinguishable from every other, left a little deposit of sensation, experience, feeling. Familiar and unfamiliar swam and blended into a strangeness like dreaming as she saw Howie’s face out of her girlhood against the mountainside of her present life. A wash of confused feelings went over her like wind across a sweating skin, for the identity that Howie took for granted and talked to and reflected back at her was not the identity it used to be, not the one that had signed all her past drawings, not the one she knew herself. That what was it now? She didn’t know.
What is wrong with this story is that it is not a true story. Men have in their minds a picture of how the world will be. How they will be in that world. The world may be many different ways for them but there is one world that will never be and that is the world they dream of. Do you believe that? (From Cormac McCarthy’s Cities of the Plains)
And now comes John Barleycorn with the curse he lays upon the imaginative man who is lusty with life and desire to live. John Barleycorn will not let the dreamer dream, the liver live. God is bad, truth is a cheat, and life is a joke. From his calm-mad heights, with the certitude of a god, he beholds all life as evil. Wife, children, friends – in the clear white light of his logic, they are exposed as frauds and shams. He sees their frailty, their meagerness, their sordidness, their pitifulness. And he knows his one freedom: he may anticipate the day of his death – suicide, quick or slow, a sudden spill or a gradual oozing away through the years, is the price John Barleycorn exacts.