Tuesday
Jul262005

« Slow It Down, Son... »

I have been busy lately. Well, I've kept busy for a few years now, and in the wake of a crushing depression a few years ago, that has been basically good. I've had far less time to ruminate on things that do seem to be overwhelmingly negative. And sure, there is plenty of that. But then one day I stumbled upon this paper on industrial society at CultureChange dot org, and it set me on another course.

Recently, a small group of folks from my church started a short class on Martin Buber's I and Thou. It is led by our minister Jerry Lawritson who is a student of one Maurice Friedman, who himself was a student of Buber and an authority on Buber's work. So our little living room class is in good hands. I took almost exactly the same class with almost exactly the same people back in 1989 when I was in 11th grade. I was the only 16 year old there, I believe. In fact, oftentimes, I took on many things that the adults did because I never felt any real connection to people my age. So I took on reading this short but immensely potent book with the others. My book went missing for years but magically reappeared a few months before this class was announced, with all my underlines and markings. I have no idea, reflecting on the depth of the ideas presented in the book, how I ever got anything out of it as a dopey 16 year old, but I assume I did get something. Even now, it's mind bending to contemplate, but it seems to be a supreme thing to be reading at this juncture in humankind's history.

Yet, as I am lustfully lapping up all the wisdom of Buber, Jesus, and many others who seem to think there are better ways to live more humanely, I am being dragged kicking and screaming the other direction, into a life that is more complex, materialistic, fast-paced, shallow, disingenuous. The last few weeks in particular have been wild. Utterly wild. The joke is on me—when I get a rest from this, it will actually mean I will be more fully absorbed into the life I didn't choose for myself. I guess that is why I am taking fervent notes on Buber, and unlike previous times, even in bible study. I guess this is my way for preparing for the storm. I can't get out of my head how now that the world is facing the oil peak and its resultant geopolitical mess, and this country is making worse and worse decisions about how to run its affairs both at home and abroad, I have to be thrust into all that at just the time it seems that the whole system will break. I've had a lot to weigh, and a lot to think about, but really I am scared, like it always seems I am, of failure. Or more now than ever, that my effort will come at a time when things are utterly falling apart. What a hell of a time to be thrust out into it all. As it is, I never dreamt of owning my own house if I didn't inherit it. For years, I've been able to be sort of bohemian and somewhat carefree, or at least careless.

The last few weeks have been just punishing in their constant demand for activity. Search for work, drive to Claremont to investigate up there, look for housing, packing, classes, counseling, yard sale prep and cleanup, storing stuff, EONSNOW stuff, sit on the porch and talk till asleep. I've done more driving since Kelli's car crapped out a week ago, and in the search for housing and work, and whatever. It has reminded me of my increasingly visceral intolerance for driving, at least during the daytime. Add that its been hotter than Hades here, and it's a large-scale bummer. Kelli and Glenn have been here to talk to, but really, after a while, I just want silence. Stillness. Freedom. Time to reflect. Time to utterly disconnect from the matrix (if that is still legal). I just want an I-thou with a bed, or a tree, or the moon, Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings or whatever places no demands on me and might actually leave me with some refreshment.

My life has been a thinking life for a few years now, at least overtly. My life has been all I-it and not enough I-thou. The last few weeks have brought that to the fore. I've been distracted from my inner life for a while now, despite fueling it with study of things that will enhance it once they ease from knowledge to knowing. Things with Kelli have been real testy for a while now, and I guess that would have to be expected. She is on her way to grad school which will set her on her career path which she has entertained for nearly 20 years. And I am being sent out of my house of seven years, the closest to an ancestral home I might ever really know, and the one that started my marriage. But now is takes its place among the studs-and-stucco places all around me. The place is losing its romance for me. Right now, I mourn its passing because I will miss the space. Living in a one bedroom just makes me cringe. No patio, no three bedrooms, no driveway, no studio. My only experience really living outside of a family house was for a 20 month spell at an apartment, and that was back in 97-98. I just remember it being really restrictive. I had one bedroom of three, and the only other space was the bathroom, kitchen, and a nominal use of the living room. I did not watch much TV there (that is when I started my no TV period), so I pretty much holed up in my bedroom and recorded music, but with no drums. All the rest of the time it was work or stay gone. These days, after making my house a nice place to be with music studio, computer tasks aplenty, and wife who has helped make it home instead of house, it's harder to imagine losing the usefulness of all that, and with having to work to pay for almost all the rent, it seems that it will be sort of drab and stir crazymaking. I could be all wrong, but it's a tiny space, and there is hardly anywhere to play host to the range of things I'd be doing here.

I guess the thing that does excite me is that by making this arrangement work, we don't have to leave San Diego yet and so we can still call on friends and church folks, and have some satisfaction in knowing at least we aren't in greater Los Angeles. I guess we will have to make this work out at least until we can sniff out Claremont and get a comparable place there, but it would entail leaving the first somewhat-lucrative job I've had in years. Right now, I'm inclined to find the solution that will carry us to semester break so we can evaluate from there. I just want to turn my brain off for now and get into feeling something again, and maybe even take a breath again, whether I need it or not.

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