22 July 2008

The youth and beauty brigade

Notes from the road:

1) Please, don't ever consider a cross-country Greyhound bus trip a good idea. The buses are always running late (sometimes dramatically so), the customer service is terrible, and you can call several stations before you find one that actually answers its listed phone number. If there's a fate worse than contemporary air travel, it's bus travel. By some stroke of luck, I made it back with all of my body parts and possessions, but there were many moments when that seemed unlikely.

2) Walking amongst the world of the living can be an intoxicating experience for me. People are like museum pieces to me; I want to walk around completely unnoticed, turning them over in my hands looking for little cracks and crevices. Oftentimes it only exacerbates my misanthropy, but there are always enough pleasant souls to make the world go on. If you spend a lot of time around people and don't have an endless flood of ideas for novels, you probably ought to have your imagination examined. Actual communication with people is still an anxiety-filled experience for me, though. I don't have the faculty to process whether everything I say is going to be worthwhile and inoffensive.

3) It seems people have a thin line when it comes to finding others likable, and to me it's nearly invisible. Who knows why some people get on with you while others don't? Of course, I fall into the old habit of believing personality traits are qualitative, i.e., there's an ideal standard we are trying to reach which will make us all wildly popular and irresistible. And I suppose there is, if that's the sort of thing you go for.

4) The wedding was a modest production, but still affecting, which made me happy. (I say modest, though of course it wasn't my neck on the line.) The wedding industry and its junior partner the diamond industry are the best legal rackets going right now; using the social pressure on everyone, but especially women, to spare no expense in having a lavish, unforgettable wedding to rake in obscene fees.

5) Despite that, I've thankfully developed near immunity to the virus of pointless romanticism, which would have driven me off the rails at an earlier age. I still have to nurse a little crush back to health, but he's a wee one and won't bite if provoked. You can feel however you like about that, but I don't think 'insulted' should be on the table. I think I've stayed within my right.

6) One of the sad realities of our hyper-competitive capitalist world is the way parents remain ruthlessly ambitious on behalf of their children well into adulthood. That some kids may want to do something with themselves rather than acquire the most wealth possible is a foreign concept to some people. Wanting to see your kids wealthy is, I suppose, a natural response to years of struggling to get by in your own life. I may not agree with it, but I can't fairly object to the impulse. Having a B.A. and being the least educated person in a room is quite intimidating.

Back with a playlist shortly.