Secret Pop

Jan 11, 2003


See the opening titles of Catch Me If You Can. That is my mandate.

I work all the time. I have no idea what day of the week it is, most days. I felt a small surge of relief and joy tonight when I realized it was only Friday. Even though it makes no difference that it is Friday. It just makes the parking situation less negotiable.

It was easier to be confident and easy when I didn't know the difference. There's that curious phenomemon of trying too hard -- the effort that drives it all away from you. Deciding that you want something is the surest path to never getting it. Like eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Knowing what it is. Knowing what it's worth. Having the blinders removed. Bringing it all into focus. See the truth, and you will surely despise it. It's the reason all the classy joints keep the price tags hidden. To see a thing for what it truly is is to see it naked and ashamed and valueless. In many ways, living in the fog of an innocent illusion was more like the idea of life one has. The idea that things make sense and some of it will come out right in the end. If life was a Stephen Spielberg movie, you could be certain of the happy ending. You could count on the redemption story.

The ones who hear the subtext more clearly than the words are more precious, more insightful, more wise, more worthy.

I watched a wonderful Japanese film called Good Morning recently. A 1959 Technicolor piece. Reading the subtitles, it is remarkable that the Japanese communicate almost exclusively on what is implied. Nearly every statement ends with, "But..." or "And so you see..." And that includes the ellipses. Sentences trail off into the incomplete of the unsaid. It's how it's done. The world is a question. There is none of the surefooted buffoonery of other-world arrogance. Even if he believes that he knows more than you do, he will never let you know it. But we are the nation that wears those scouting sashes -- the ones covered in badges that declare our mastery of something or our completion of something else. We are the nation of the award. And of the awards ceremony. We are not subtle. We are not secret. We do not admire humility or crave anonymity. Not most of us.

I don't know what I admire or what I crave. I think I do what is expected of me. Even when I try to subvert that. I am as predictable as time. Even when I think I am full of surprises, they are only the surprises everyone knew were coming. I am true to the premonitions. My buttons are easy to push. And they are labeled in easy-to-read alphanumeric symbols.

I am attracted to the blues and the reds.

It's been cold. But not cold enough. And then hot. Too hot. And then windy. And then murky. And then utterly nothing. I haven't even had a chance to find a favorite sweater. Previous winters have had their favorite sweaters picked out long before now. But sometimes it seems as if everything within my reach has fallen out of favor with me. All gone sooty with -- why isn't "crapulence" a word? I said yesterday in an email: "Isn't there a Greek letter called 'crapsilon?' That's the letter I am thinking right now." I'm all for adding more words to the dictionary with "crap" in them. Crap is in abundance this season.

I'm rambling and not wanting to. I'm tempted to stomp my feet. But I have hardwood floors and intolerant neighbors. And I have been taught to put their needs before my own. Cash this promptly. It's void after 60 days.

Get back to where you once belonged.

No comments: