Monday, October 27, 2008

Evading the Hour

I heard a piece on the radio the other day about a man who walks around in a Superman costume sometimes. A real, honest-to-God authentic Superman costume. And he just throws it on and goes to a bar, or fills his car up with gas, acting otherwise normal. He doesn't get made fun of--he actually gets respect and attention because people are impressed that he has the balls to do such a thing. And he's apparently a really nice guy. So anyone intending to make fun of him upon approaching is quickly dissuaded. Anyway, why does he do this? One simple, heartbreaking reason: his wife died a few years ago.


What if the only reason we're not insane is because something tragic hasn't happened to us yet? Lately it seems like everyone around me is in pain and channeling it through some other endeavor, be it for good or naught. It occurs to me that more people than one might expect are walking around carrying invisible elephants on their backs, or hosting dinner parties wherein only the host can see the lumbering elephant hanging out in the corner. And here is my deepest worry, dear diary (er, I mean, blog): how will my escape manifest itself when the time comes? I'm sure it will come, (no one gets by unscathed). I guess no one can be prepared and there's no sense worrying...

Ok enough of that. A jumble of observations over the past few weeks and I needed to express it somehow. Unfortunately, my blog became the vehicle for that. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that the patterns I've been noticing in people and about life are nothing new. Getting through life despite the occasional crisis blindsiding you is the most universal human struggle there is, right? Maybe I should read more... I'm sure Joyce or Keats or someone figured all this out already.

On a lighter note, the following is something I was told the other day:

"Ladylike subtlety has never been one of your strong points."

hmm...I'll take that as.... a compliment! : )

And finally, speaking of private pain and, in this case, a very public vehicle for it, I was fascinated by this piece (or pieces, rather. There's over 180 parts.) at the American Art Museum (Smithsonian.) My fascination stems from a) it's pure bizarreness (is that a word?); b) the title: The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly (awesome); c) the fact that this guy was from SC and moved to DC; and d) anybody who actually prepares for the second coming of the Lord, well, it's always interesting to see what's involved (usually bomb shelters, preparing emails to your un-saved friends for delivery after the Armageddon, and/or mass suicides).

I now have a 8 x 5 iridescent postcard of this scene hanging in my cubicle at work.

I'm making fun, but truthfully I think it's really cool that a janitor from SC's secret garage work--which he may or may not have thought of as "art"--is on display at the Smithsonian.

And finally, because my favorite poems are way better than anything I write, I found an appropriate one:

The Hour
by Michael Lind

Maybe the moment recurs daily at six, when commuters,
freed from the staring computers,
elbow and bump in unsought intimacy on a station
platform with you, and frustration
rots what is left of your strength. Maybe the hour comes after
dinner, when televised laughter
seeps from a neighboring room; maybe the time is the dead of
night, when you ponder, instead of
dreaming. Whatever the time, you will escape it—by sinking
down with a book, or by drinking
secretly out in the dark studio, or by unbuckling
pants on a stranger, or chuckling,
one with a mob, in a deep theater. Soon, though, the hour
comes to corrode all your power,
pleasure and faith with the damp dread that it daily assigns you.
How you evade it defines you.

1 comment:

Mel said...

Either you channel your pain or it consumes you, no?

The foil artwork made me think of "The Mothman Prophecies". Maybe I should try to watch that sometime this week, seeing as it's the spooky time of year.