Friday, February 1, 2013

older stuff 6

Older Stuff from the Barn; 1998-2000 (part 6)

“...he talked quite a bit back in those days of simply hiding away, like an insect.  I know that you knew him back then- in fact, knew him better than most people who have come onto this program.  this was of course in the days before he talked about hiding away, like an insect.  did he talk about other things?  yes, this is a serious question.  a question directed straight at you, the reader- for the time being you’ll just have to go under this generic name, “reader.”  and if you think that I’m lumping you in with all of the others, well- think again.  and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with your talents or potential or sense of purpose or personal categories.  neither is it just a fluke, a sense of one person picked out at random from billions.  no, there is solid evidence that you knew him, that you two in fact had a number of fairly long and frank conversations.  he talked quite a bit about hiding away during those earlier years.  there’s almost no chance that you don’t know what I’m referring to here.  I’ve studied the timeline on facebook, as well as a few of your personal transcripts.  this will probably anger, disturb, and even estrange you to a certain extent, but these are all possibilities that I have carefully weighed in advance.  they are worth the risk, I’ve decided- these are still your real-life relationships.  I’m not trying to intrude on your private life and if it makes you feel any better, there is an awful lot I still don’t know and in fact don’t want to know, ever.  your life is your own private business. it remains. it is natural.  it’s a decent little individual life that still has considerable promise.  I learned about a few of your successes as well as a few of your failures, but what I’m primarily concerned with is your brief relationship with the person in question during the time you shared sensitive information on twitter.

I know as well as anyone that he seldom ventured out into public, and I’m anticipating that that will probably be your first line of defense.  I understand all too well that you want to put some space between yourself and this person.  I understand it because I feel exactly the same!  she’s not the most likable person, is she?  we can finally be honest about stuff like this!  not the most pleasant individual on the face of the earth.  it wasn’t your fault that bert and ernie were committed to solid citizen journalism.  and neither is there anything wrong with people wanting to film extreme weather events.  “consigned to oblivion,” as a poet might put it.  well, look, reader, please understand- I’m not trying to stir anything up.  I understand you’re getting angry and that I’m seriously jeopardizing any possible future between us by pointing out such delicate matters.  your identity is still strong- don’t worry! your identity is well-intact and established!  it’s just plain wrong for a fool like me to come blundering in like this, out of nowhere.  do you still maintain what a poet might call a “constellation of human desires?”  and if so, does the person in question have any rightful place or station or claim to it?  the obvious answer is “of course not” and I anticipated that also.  I weighed it carefully against all the answers that I knew would not be forthcoming just to get a sense of possible context- a sense of our ongoing relationship.  you as reader, me as shale, both as current or perhaps former jade and/or associates to the person in question, a slow waltz, toward increasingly untenable answers.

I guess the thing I will be focusing on initially is this sense of the person “hiding away.”  hiding away from her/himself?  hiding away from the others?  hiding away from the past?  from the present?  the future?  hiding away for the fun of it?  hiding away as a symbol?  immediately we are pulled into a dense network of black stars and map rooms.  you have your own private theories, I realize, and there will be a chance, later on, if you like, for you to ventilate some of them.  you probably think I’m just saying that in an initial attempt to win you over- you probably imagine that this business of “airing them” is simply impossible in a confused media empire like this- well, let me ask a simple question of my own- are you, in fact, prepared to identify your awareness or knowledge of black stars and map rooms?  and if so, are you willing to reveal where and how you stumbled into the...golly...don’t answer now and don’t even pause to think the thing over.  there will be more than enough time for this after our initial series of questions.  you’ll notice that I am deliberately refraining from calling it a “Q and A” format and my reasons for that will also become apparent throughout the course of the inquiry.  you’ll probably be wondering if the person in question is still even viable- and the only honest answer is the 2 conjoined and time-honored phrases:  I don’t know.  I’m sorry.  I wish I knew, but I don’t.  this person continually talked about the possibility of hiding away, like an insect- you know this as well as anyone else, if not better.  isn’t that why I selected you?  isn’t that why you agreed to these questions?  because at some level, as much as you would like to forget that little episode altogether, you still care about the person in question, as strange and unpleasant as she or he actually was.  and if you don’t care, maybe you’re still the slightest bit curious.  the person in question appeared to have only one abiding area of human concern- to wit, hiding away, and the practical means of making it happen as soon as humanly possible.  did the person try to recruit you?  did the person try to convince you?  did the person try to convince you that hiding away like an insect might be the best possible outcome for you as well?  and did you listen to the person’s arguments?  were you the least bit persuaded?  you don’t need to answer these questions right now nor do you need to pause for a few moments of anguished reflection.  again, it’s not necessarily a matter of being picked out at random from a pool of billions, but at the same time neither did you mastermind yourself into this particular context.  I’m not suggesting that you just woke up one day and discovered yourself inside a so-called human body.  I’m not suggesting that you went off hunting for space in an apartment or rooming house.  that very term “rooming house” seldom even comes up anymore- doesn’t it conjure up images of old-fashioned spy novels?  as in “so and so returned home from the scene of the crime.  she or he looked out of the window at the rooming house across the street and was startled to see an old woman and old man staring back at her or him.  so-and-so drew the curtains, determined to never look in that direction again.  it’s a seedy type of person who lives for long in a rooming house- these old folks have been living there since their mid-thirties, allegedly.  I’d rather be stuck in this cycle of small-scale crime for the rest of my life than spend my time peeping out windows at passers-by and weird people like myself  in neighboring windows...”

“...the person in question may or may not have been experiencing psycho/ eco/ socio/ archaeo/ logical problems.  please note that I’m not saying “suffering from” these particular problems.  whether or not she or he was suffering is a matter of conjecture at this point.  we may arrive there, but if we don’t, we’ll continue to press on with what little information we have gleaned in other critical areas.  you may or may not have noticed, you may or may not have suspected, you may or may not have broached the topic, and if so, the person in question may or may not have responded.  these are all areas of immediate interest to me.  as a reader and citizen journalist, extreme weather is of interest as well.  our lives have never intersected before and most likely never will again in the future.  it’s an extremely brief span of time we have together and chances are it’s becoming alarmingly briefer as a result of me pointing it out in this somewhat tiresome manner.  you would think my conditioning might have kicked in by this point, but alas, there was no solid conditioning.  I was a very "poor" student and asked to leave almost every institution I entered.  I realize this might contribute to a sort of unintended “bad boy” image but let me assure you that that was in no way the case or the intention.  I was a timid lad, for the most part, and oftentimes refused to speak altogether.  does it come as a surprise to the reader that I sometimes fantasized about hiding away as an adult? like a termite?  the person in question came into my life at a very sensitive time.  I had just won the first of several local wood-working awards.  at the time, there was a real push to get the local youth into wood-working.  wood-working shops, wood-working clinics, wood-working experts brought in on special occasions to teach and inspire us- I was of course already thinking about my hideout or hideaway and realized that some practical skills would probably come in very handy.  the culture around me at the time was confused and I would even say somewhat demented.  even though they ostensibly valued old world handicrafts like wood-working and star-gazing, there was a distinct preference for what was being referred to as the “techno-sphere.”  “say no more” is what I’m usually told when I come to this part of my narrative. “we’re not living in a bubble” is another response I’ve heard literally thousands of time.  when I first launched the subsidiary that was intended to supplement this particular inquiry, I valued friendship, and there was no price too high to pay for maintaining it.  a quiet walk thru the forest, a trip to the circus or carnival, traditional thanksgiving dinners, an afternoon at the ball park- even if you and I have never done these sorts of things together, I’m banking on the fact that you have your own point of cultural reference.  it might not be enjoyable and it might even erode the fragile trust built up between us by this point- well, again, I suppose it’s a risk that I’m willing to take.  the person in question, the one who kept talking about the prospect of hiding away- people sometimes engage in conversation. (?)  people enjoy conversation. (?)  all day and then all night they rehash the possibilities, and then when morning comes again they voluntarily venture out into the upgraded techno-sphere. I'm getting the distinct impression that NPR has convinced them to "become part of the dialogue."  it’s not so much a matter of asking them to review their priorities as a matter of sorting out what would happen if they successfully achieved their objectives.  “hiding away” is no laughing matter.  the person is question was no stand-up comedian.  she or he lived in a rooming house.  yes, I am finally prepared to divulge that critical piece of information.   

and so, in conclusion, if there was one type of music I cared about I’d honestly have to say it was rock.  most people don’t seem to understand this and I don’t feel the need to explain it.  rock just made sense to me.  the energy and the beat seemed to speak to me.  suddenly, so much seemed possible!  I could visualize my entire life stretching out or unfolding in front of me.  rock gave me courage, ok? a courage I was decidedly lacking.  I was finally ready to embark on the most wild adventures.  this was all thanks to rock.  I owe rock almost everything.