last glass...dusty buckets...parched e-lips...sponge...drip...drop

2003-08-16 - 5:50 p.m.: shark blood

i finished cleaning out my apartment today... and i can't help but think about how disposable my culture is. my american culture, and my personal culture. i'm all about shedding... throwing things away, moving on, passing through my material environment as though it has nothing to do with me. it never bothered me before... but seeing so much piled up in a heap for the dumpster was a little shaking. at first in a political sense--what right do *i* have to "not need" things??? and then in a personal sense. it made me think about what it would be like to keep things forever... to mend them when they tear, to refurbish them, to modernize them. to view them as extensions of my physical self--accepting the symptoms of old age, appreciating their uncomplaining fidelity, becoming familiar with their worn spots, their soft spots, their strengths and weaknesses. i used to carry a blankie around when i was a child. i took it everywhere. the day it "disappeared," i cried. i know now that it's saved in a box somewhere... but i don't know what it's being saved for. memories? i dunno. i don't know what i'd do with it. i don't know what i would have done with it if i had kept dragging it around. i'd probably be depraved. i don't know what i'm talking about. i just wish that it wasn't so easy to replace things. wish i could value them more. wish i could experience need.

if that's not the most naively selfish thing i've ever said, i don't know what is.

it's true, though. there's a definite part of me that romanticizes need. poverty. homelessness. strife. when the power went out all over northeastern u.s., i think a lot of americans felt the exact same way. while it sucked not to have air conditioning, lights, television, subway systems, elevators, water pressure, etc... there was a collective thrill that buzzed in the air and kept people running around. i think a part of us... maybe a big part of us... maybe an essentially HUGE part of us... feels incredibly guilty for using too much of the world for too little. that part of us recognizes that air conditioning and television and subways have nothing to do with our humanity... our survival. that part of us knows that we'd be fine without it. that life would be different but... really not much worse. that we'd have more time. that we'd cooperate, more. that some things would improve, while others merely disappeared. technology is moving so fast.... and money pushes so hard... that it's becoming nearly impossible to go back... to give it back... to say, "oh, wait... this isn't really what we wanted. this isn't really what we were talking about. let's switch directions, here." what if the power stayed out? i bet a lot of people were wondering. "what if? would it really be that bad?"

i don't know. a lot of people all over the world are dealing with a lot worse. but not THE worst. and they probably don't have this guilt.

on the way home i made eye contact with a guy on the sidewalk who, walking along, suddenly reached out and tore a fistful of leaves off the edge of a bush. my eyes asked why he did it. his eyes asked why i cared. i don't think either of us had an answer. kept driving.

fell asleep watching "jaws" last night... and for some reason this article i'd read about the validity of "near death experiences" jumped into my mind. out-of-body consciousness, etc. and i wondered what near-death experiences would be like for people who were eaten by sharks. or any other predator, really. did they watch themselves being digested? did they empathize with the shark? were they merely curious? (keep in mind i'm on the verge of sleep, here.) then i wondered... if *i* had an out-of-body experience, near death, would i try to jump back in my body? would i haunt old homes, old loves, family? would i look for some light to flap around?

would i be brave enough to float myself away from everything familiar? could i check out the inside of a nebula? could i do that?

fell asleep wondering how brave i'd be.

woke up still wondering.


have a wonderful night!