Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I explained to the directors that I had never been much of a scholar, and that what they were asking me to do in regards to the new edition of the museum brochure was probably way beyond my meager capabilities in that department. Sure, I probably could have come up with a couple paragraphs of rank mediocrity, but the museum and its patrons deserved better than that.  Don't you think?  I took my sack lunch out of doors and wandered around the periphery, ruminating, unfocused, but eventually came to rest in an old picnic shelter and slowly munched my cottage cheese, cookies, and apple, gazing all the while out into the adjoining wilderness area, pretty sure that my backwoods fantasy would remain precisely that: a mere fantasy.  I still suspect that the board had civil society's better interests at heart, even if that stuff pertaining to the practice of bottling ditch water and selling it at 20 dollars a pop in the museum cafe was so efficiently swept under the rug.  The whole enchilada at one time is too much to be borne with any measure of dignity.  That gives the pen time to note and the palate time to reorient. I don’t see it but I hear it there lurking behind me.  The silence.  Sometimes people refer to it as a gift from above.  The proverbial voice from the whirlwind slithering out into the public domain.  So much for the much-touted art and devotion to craft.  I did all that the board of directors desired.  Initially I desired it too. For them. For the patrons.  For the bio-region itself!  Whenever they desired something so did I.  Automatically.  They only had to say what that thing was and I was pretty much off to the races.  When they didn’t desire anything, oh well.  In this way I didn’t live without desires.  No way.  If they had desired something for me personally I would have desired it too.  That seems obvious.  Happiness for example, or an elaborate tree house, say, built on the pattern of the immortal Swiss Family Robinson.  I only had the desires that they manifested and imparted to me.  Over the course of my internship they must have manifested close to 100. All their desires and needs, which at the time seemed virtually endless.  When they told me to bottle ditch water and affix labels implying far-off artesian sources, I hastened to do so. For some reason I drew enormous satisfaction from this.  For a brief period there we must have had the selfsame satisfactions. The same needs, the same dreams, and the same satisfactions.  And yet, one day they up and told me to leave the museum. It’s the verb they employed.  The institution must have been heading in a new and exciting direction. I don’t know if by that they meant me to leave for good or only to step outside onto the front steps for a moment. I never asked myself that question. I never asked myself any questions but theirs!  Whatever it was they meant I made off without looking back. Gone from reach of their voices I was gone from the museum.  Period.  Perhaps it was that which the board of directors truly desired. There are questions you see coming but don’t ask yourself with sufficient sincerity.  The institution itself must have already veered off in another direction entirely. I on the contrary was remaining true to the original course. I wanted to be more like Johnny Appleseed.  That's how I got the job in the first place!