Tuesday, August 21, 2007
These days I'm far more interested in the Mets winning the NL East and their third baseman David Wright, pictured above, getting thirty home runs and thirty stolen bases this season while maintaining his .312 batting average than I am in film. I also want the Yankees to cool off and miss the playoffs.
Other than that I want to be out in nature as much as possible -- hiking, cycling, strolling on the beach. I want to spend as much time as possible with my family. I want to read books about Iraq, painting, anthropology and mythology. I'm thinking about Mexico a lot, a place I once lived and have visited often. I'm struggling to let thoughts go during meditation. A sure sign that I need to continue meditating. Isn't it funny that the things we struggle with are often abandoned or pursued with zeal rather than quietly and steadfastly practiced?
There seem to be a lot of shoulds in my life at present. I should be getting a new roof on my garage. I should be painting the hallway, windows, downstairs apartment and several bathrooms. I should get a sealer on the fence. I should be looking for work. I should be editing. There are so many shoulds that I don't want to do any of it. I don't even want to get out into nature once I start thinking about all those damn to-do's. One of the thoughts creeping into my meditation yesterday was whether to re-stain the bannister in the hall or paint it.
To prevent falling into a deeper depression yesterday morning, I went to the gym with Nicola. I prefer going with my wife as it keeps the whole self-centered vibe of the place at a distance. I wish they would remove the televisions from in front of at least one end of the cardio machines. During the commercials there is an obnoxious strobing effect from all the rapid edits. Mid-morning there are a lot of magazine shows involving make-overs of sorts. One involved a garage make-over. Lots of shelving, including an entire wall of racks for some Middle-American schmuck's ten sets of golf clubs. How about asking the guy if he really needs all those sets of clubs?
I've been reading a lot about the incidental bombing of homes all over Iraq. Of displaced people wandering on foot in need of things like water and medical attention, having lost everything. When I see twelve flat screen televisions at the gym flashing images of wasteful bullshit, like rooms in homes devoted to the display of some geezer's high school hockey awards, I get antsy about being a member of this society.
Or how about people spending $60,000 to climb Mt. Everest? Something else I've been reading about. Now that's some ego-driven bullshit. When you get past the superlatives, there's nothing heroic about it. It's just another example of people buying experiences. Another push a button, pay a price quick fix. Sure they put their lives and the lives of others at risk, but that just serves to make it all the more solipsistic.
Like motorcycles. I've had so many friends die or get seriously injured in motorcycle accidents. I had a head-on collision with a car on a bike that sent me flying over the car into somebody's front lawn. I wasn't wearing a helmet. Luckily I was a teenager whose football player body was conditioned to take such a punishing blow. I walked away. Another time I dislocated a shoulder that I relocated myself. It was sore for a few years until I did a few months of yoga that must have set it right finally. Aside from a few other scrapes, blows to the skull and bone chips, I survived my many years on motorcycles. A lot of friends and acquaintances have not. The lead female character, Motorcycle Girl, in Original Glory is based on a girl that rode a Triumph. The character is based more on a situation that we found ourselves in with her than her personality. I just remembered the other day that I heard she was in a serious accident later on that took the use of her legs away. Please forgive the digression from my point into some sort of macho injury report. My point is that as a father I don't ride motorcycles. I don't want my kids to have to say their father died in a motorcycle crash. Or climbing a mountain. Sure I might die crossing the street or choking on Chinese food or cancer or any number of things besides bucolic old age. But those will be accidents if they come to pass. I will continue to look both ways, to chew my food, to eat blueberries and green vegetables in my best efforts to prevent an untimely death.
I'm going to quit this rant soon and go for a bike ride with my son. Let me say this in closing: I live a charmed life. I'm becoming salty about a few things as a I let go of them. I'm at a big transition stage in my life. I can say generally that I'm entering middle age chronologically. As for any specifics, it's too early to tell. I hope to follow my bliss, but it's hard to uncover sometimes. Much of my life has been quite ego-driven. So for now, I'm taking those walks and bike rides in nature or the neighborhood. I'm being mindful of what speaks to me heart.
And I'm paying close attention to my beloved Metropolitans. Not only to their progress this season, but to my attachment to them. Is it something I should allow myself to openly enjoy without apology or is it a part of our media-driven, consumer culture that is better ignored? Don't know the answer to that, so until then: I want you to go over to your window, I want you to throw it open, I want you to stick your head out and I want you to yell, Let's Go Mets!
How's that for co-opting a film about fighting the media establishment?
A bigga pizza pie,