Saturday, July 1, 2017

What's Up Dock

Dropped by Five Corners Hardware to pick up some Gorilla Glue. I mention to the young woman working at the counter how nicely cool it is in the store. It’s a hot Seattle day. A rare phenomenon. She tells me it’s 124 degrees in Las Vegas. The asphalt is bubbling. 
Nicolas Cage lives in Vegas. I wonder why. What has attracted him to Las Vegas? Why has he chosen to live in Las Vegas rather than Los Angeles, or New York, or Chicago? It occurs to me that not only do I not know Nicolas Cage, I know absolutely nothing about Nicolas Cage, other than the roles he has filled in the movies, such as Ben Sanderson, the suicidal alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas, or Cameron Poe, the ex-Army Ranger finishing a ten-year sentence for killing a man and being flown to Alabama where he is to be released aboard a C-123K transport prison aircraft in the movie Con Air, which came out in the summer of 1997.
Nicolas Cage is good at playing troubled, passionate men, whose triggered intensities lead them into desperate situations. I wonder if that has anything to do with Nicolas Cage’s decision to live in Las Vegas, where he is friends with Carrot Top. 
I come home with the glue and fix the white trim on the upper shelf of the refrigerator, which cracked. 
Roberta swabs some glue into the crack with a Q-tip and I squeeze the shelf. The glue dries quickly. I lean the shelf against the coffee table. 
I mention the Beatles at an informal meeting of neighbors. I do not recall the precise context in which I rather awkwardly extended this information, but I think it had something to do with my age and arthritis and that, more than fifty years later, the Beatle’s music was still fresh and engaging, a fact I found to be relevant of something, I’m not sure what, perhaps that time and aging are illusory on some level, that despite one’s wrinkles and arthritic joints the spirit can remain vital and young, full of élan and spontaneity. Unfortunately, the awkwardness of the situation did not permit that kind of elaboration. 
But it’s true. The computer allows an access to the past that seems quite within our reach, almost palpable. 
How strange, for instance, to watch a Beatles video. I listen to “A Day in the Life” and the accompanying video in which the Beatles appear to be at a recording session with a symphonic orchestra, the Beatles all full of smiles and laughs and eccentric clothes, the members of the orchestra in formal wear, Keith Richards and Donovan visiting, a young woman leaping about. The time is drenched in nostalgia for me. Compared to the current dystopic plutocratic police state in which we now live the time seems strangely carefree, as insouciant and charmed as the Beatle’s music. Of course, if you listen closely, you can also hear an undercurrent of menace, such as the man who blew his mind out in a car. That doesn’t sound at all good. 
I find great irony in our access to the past via computer and smartphone, a time when there was much more community. It's very easy to communicate with people now, at least electronically, and yet everyone is so isolated. Why? What happened? Why does so much information seem to separate people rather than bring them together? Why is everything so fragmented and steeped in insult and conflict? 
There is also less privacy. The loss of privacy makes people feel more isolated. Fearful. Afraid to freely express themselves.
These are the judgments of a private man. A private man in a public medium. 
One frequently overhears the phrase “don’t judge me” these days. No one wants to be accountable. No one wants to make a statement. Except for tattoos. One’s skin appears to be the parchment for one’s history and declarations. What do the symbols mean? You could keep a conversation going for quite a while with someone and their tattoos.
Yesterday I saw a man in a wheelchair, his shirt off, covered in tattoos head to feet, getting a new tattoo just outside the new KEXP building at the Seattle Center Fairgrounds.
I watch the French news. The lead story is Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to Donald Trump to visit Paris during Bastille Day, to which Jean-Luc Mélenchon, former president of the Left Party and founder of the progressive movement La France Insoumise, for which he was elected a Member of Parliament recently representing the Bouches-du-Rhône, a highly populated and diverse department which includes Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, strongly objects, saying that Monsieur Trump is violent and has no business being there.
The world has become a very strange place. Or should I say humanity has become a very weird species. My brain is inundated with enigmas. Little enigmas. Big fat enigmas. Beefy enigmas. Galactic enigmas. Cloudy enigmas. Enigmas running on love gasoline. Enigmas growing like vines around an aqueduct. Enigmas in embryonic underwear. Enigmas riding bicycles wrapped in Eiffel Towers. 
How many molecules does it take to make a mollusk moral and a proverb elegant? 
I never met a molecule I didn’t like. 
I don’t understand the sadism of billionaire politicians. I don’t understand the mechanisms of denial. I don’t understand the persistence of delusional thinking.
“The only way to be in agreement with life is to disagree with ourselves,” observed Fernando Pessoa. “Absurdity is divine.” 
Do you prefer pulling a door open or pushing a door open? I prefer pulling. If you push the door there is a greater chance of hitting someone. Revolving doors confuse me. I get a little anxious when I approach a revolving door. I feel that it is something you have to plunge into. Like knowing when to begin singing a song after the band has started. I cannot do that. That is how I know I am not a musician.
But I am absurd. Who isn’t? 
Here is my diagnosis: the lake is absurd. The waves are absurd. The water is absurd. The shores are absurd. The canoes are absurd. The reflections are absurd. But the dock? The dock is not absurd. The dock is totally ridiculous.

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