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it’s a weird view for someone who’s so mad about life not to care about death

January 27, 2009

I was sitting above Market after work in this bookstore where you can sit in soft chairs and stare out a large window for no reason in particular, and I was looking out this window when a fire truck came up the street, its lights exploding and its siren going off all over the place.  It pulled up right in front, and I was thinking, What if we didn’t even know that this building was on fire?  It was not such an outlandish thought, that probably happens all the time, somebody could walk into this room and say your life is on fire, Paul Simon always says it best, and you would probably turn around thinking, “Who? Me?”

Today I told my dad I wasn’t cut out for this lifestyle, working full time all day long, waiting for weekends.  I can’t spend my whole life waiting for weekends.  I started to think that I have to find some way to be content at least half of the time, and I’m thinking about this at the bank while I’m eating this really good cookie, and I start to get the feeling like I’m chewing on a piece of my hair or possibly someone else’s, and I’m still trying to figure out how I can be happy doing what I’m doing.  I don’t mean this as a rhetorical question.  I want a real answer.  My first thought is opiates.  Of course that will never work for long, I didn’t go to AA meetings for two years to come out of them thinking you can do a little recreational heroin.  So, then I’m thinking I just need to force myself to engage in life more.  Maybe if I started meditating I could learn how to climb out of myself for an hour, or a minute at a time.  I’m trying to convince myself that quitting my job is not the answer, because that is too easy and it has always been my first inclination to run.  I call my dad, and he says that life is short, and I could move home and save money so I could travel, and thinking about that now kind of breaks my heart: my parents on their 30 acres.  He suggested that I don’t mention this to my mother, but although she’s not the most observant person, I think she would notice. 

So, I got up out of the bookstore, which was not on fire, and met Josie on the sidewalk, and we carried out our plan to go see Waltz with Bashir, and let me tell you that afterwards waiting for weekends seemed a lot more okay, but somehow suffocating in skyscrapers did not, because that’s the thing about life and war: innocent people get killed by innocent people, and their ain’t no such thing as innocence, but there is such a thing as people.       

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kent McMIllan permalink
    January 27, 2009 8:11 am

    I can’t spend my whole life waiting for weekends.

    One of the grandmothers of Sharon’s mother was born in a town in Massachusetts where her ancestors had lived for a couple of hundred years. I suspect that part of the story is part of why she married a Canadian and ended up in Montana. It had the tremendous advantage of not being Massachusetts and he not a distant relative.

    In that same generation, the other grandmother was the first child in her family to be born in the United States. In about 1865, her parents had left Sweden and, after crossing the Atlantic and half a continent, had arrived in Minnesota where she was born. She also ended up in Montana, but probably for different reasons.

  2. Kent McMIllan permalink
    January 28, 2009 6:04 am

    Rereading that comment, it looks obscure and unrelated to your post. What I meant to do was to put what soundsedlike a sort of existential crisis – the search for happiness can have that quality – into a different frame of reference.

    I mean, can you imagine what it must have been like to have been a woman your age in that Massachusetts town full of 200 years of family ghosts, related to half the old families in it? This is the terrain that produced the Salem witch trials and H.P. Lovecraft. Just being able to go … somewhere … else and start a new life must have been almost magical.

    I mentioned the first-generation American daughter of the Swedish blacksmith and his wife because her family’s choices were possibly made in the face of starvation and necessity.

    I apologize if this has a “walked 12 miles to school in the snow” quality. I didn’t mean it that way. I’m just struck by the process of transformation in Sharon’s family and wondered if you’d put yourself into that larger picture of all those people.

  3. January 28, 2009 12:40 pm

    Oh great, now she’s going to find for sure.

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