Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Jew-lysses

I have received a few comments to the effect that content on this site has gotten infrequent, and I apologize. But, as Henry Ford once quipped, "You can't build a reputation on what you're going to do." No one has said anything about what commentary is there getting stale yet, but in anticipation of that horror, I am introducing an entirely new kind of post: a cross-section of my thoughts throughout a possible day in my life, some real, some imagined. My inner monologue is in italics; external verbalizations in regular type. And yes, I realize that my promises to not make this blog a boring and self-obsessed run-through of my days has been completely despoiled of any meaning it once possessed. Enjoy.

8:00 AM: Gabe dresses for a business meeting.

You know, it’s important to have the right number of colors represented in both your cloth goods and leather goods, but there’s a real art to metallic accessories, as well. I mean, I could have easily picked a black belt, black shoes, and a black wristband, or had contrasting monochromatic pants and very busy shirt, but I could have just as easily gotten away without silver buckle and silver timepiece. If I can just make it clear enough without trying too hard that this is not something I labor at, but just what comes naturally to me, people will actively work to make me a success. I believe that. And it’s crazy. But it’s really that simple.

10:37 AM: Gabe reflects in the inner sanctum of a prominent attorney.

Someone hung this the wrong way, but that’s cool. I can correct that without anybody noticing. Hmm. The gaps between the door and the wall a bit thinner than I would like – they should be wide enough that you have some sense what’s going on outside, but not so wide that you could be seen. And the noise level – it’s so quiet you could become self-conscious - if you weren't beyond embarrassment like I am. I wouldn’t do that to you, personally. But you have the right amount of room, and that’s important – you’re not too cozy, but you don’t feel like you’re sitting in the observation deck of the Death Star watching whole solar systems drift by. And you get some sunlight. You know, it’s a mixed bag, but where else are you getting paid three hundred bucks an hour to go to the bathroom? This must be how a racehorse feels.

12:10 PM: Gabe considers himself in the mirror.

What the hell are you doing, man?

2:42 PM: Gabe looks out the window at a magnificent German short-haired pointer.

I want to have one of those dogs – no, two of them, and take them running some desolate place where we’re the only things for miles around, and if I can just run fast enough, there will be classical music to herald my arrival, punctuated by the faintest possible dog barks in the background. And you don’t even know where I’m running to, or what I’m running from. All I that matters is that I keep running.

6:27 PM: Gabe picks his younger brother up at the airport, and is so demoralized from sitting in traffic that he is at first helpless to demand that his brother pick a different CD to listen to. However, he is not too demoralized to suspend judgment.

What is the crap? You know, I feel pretty bad admitting this, but I hate world music. It’s not that I don’t want to like it, either. Just the opposite – I really wanted to get down to the groove of international brotherhood and multi-instrument mayhem, to shake my ass right out of my seat and my white privilege right out my ass. Y’all feel me? But the problem is, I just don’t think that highly of the rest of the world. I mean, you’ve got these primitive, primitive people, blowing into some fakakta river-reed, banging spoons on rocks, or plucking some stringed instrument made out of water buffalo guts, for fuck’s sake. No distortion, no synth, no overdubbing, no nothing. I just think we can plain do better than that, you know? And sure, I know world unity is a worthy ideal, worth sacrificing my auditory comfort, in theory. But in reality, there’s just no way I’m gonna spend $18.99 on a CD of that stuff. That will be all, Evan.

8:34 PM: Gabe takes his sweet time to answer his cell phone.

I was so sheepish and awed about finally having a cell phone, even after three years, that each call I got was like a present I put off opening in order to build my excitement: I’d put off checking my caller ID til the third and fourth ring, simultaneously convincing the other person, or so I thought, that I was a prestigious and occupied guy, and to get me on the phone could damn well take a few rings, and would be worth every second left hanging. The funny thing is, these days I think that I should answer my phone as early as possible, now that my philosophy is to try to make things convenient for others, and shamelessly win customers that way. Sometimes, I don’t even look at the caller ID, because everyone gets the same invigorating greeting from me, and you can take that all the way to the your local branch of the following participating banks. Everyone knows a cell phone is a personal phone, not listed in the telephone directory, and if you’re calling this number, you must be very important to me indeed. Glad to have you. But the really funny thing is, you know how a call on the cell phone used to be cause for celebration? You know, increasingly, the same could be said of a call on your landline. Especially if it’s before 9 PM. Have some courtesy, folks. Yep, 9:00 is the cutoff.

9:12 PM: Gabe has a conversation with an aged relative, and does not have the heart to inform her he has been single for quite a while now.

God, this is great. I’m telling a complete and utter lie, and not only is it going to be almost certainly consequence-free, but it will actually improve this lady's emotional well-being. So what if the company I work for doesn’t really exist? What’s she going to do, learn how to use the Internet? Oh, Christ. She’s going to say “yep, you betcha” for the third time in the past forty-five seconds. May I never live to get this predictable. Shit, there she goes again. What, do you just get to be a certain age and the same garbage is meaningful over and over? I wonder what she’s doing right now. I mean, she lives alone, but she’s 76. Yes, yes, I swear we’re doing fine. I mean, I’m great, she’s great, we’re just great together, you know? Yes, of course I’m thinking about it, but why rush a good thing, you know? I absolutely agree. It’s what holds us together. Oh, definitely. Well, the thing is, you could visit us, but she’s on a, um, retreat right now. No, she’s fine, it’s just something she likes to do from time to time for herself. Yes, of course I’ll call her.

11:45: Gabe relaxes in his easy chair and resumes reading Reaping the Whirlwind: The Taliban Movement in Afghanistan.

Hizb-I Islami? Hizb-I Wahdat? Najibullha...Nakibullah...Sibghatolla? God, this is driving me crazy. Who can keep up with this shit? No wonder everyone over there seems to be a crazed warlord. Ok, Ok...Wow. I never knew that. Well what did you think would happen? You made a pact with a historically devious faction, you get what you deserve. How amazing would it be to fuck in a tent with shells bursting overhead, just consumed by the urgency of it all? If you got hit by shrapnel, would you keep thrusting, or seek better shelter? … Man, do any of those people realize how flaming this all is? These guys are like Adam West and Burt Ward. What do you suppose happened to that girl from the cover of National Geographic – you know, the one with the really green eyes? Is she still alive. Some of these mullahs are pretty fucking grizzled. I wonder how they’d fare in a poker game. You know, this guy seems pretty with it, pretty moderate, I hope his faction wins out, but if I’ve learned anything from the last thirty pages, it’s that everyone disappoints you sooner or later. And I’m going to try my hardest to make her see that’s just not the case with me.

1:19 AM: Gabe helps himself to a chocolate chip cookie and his bedtime glass of port, and reflects on what he has just read.

Yeah, so what if they all said the same thing? Couldn’t it mean just a little bit more coming from me, for fuck’s sake? Couldn’t things be different this once? I’m not saying perfect…just different.

1:43 AM: Gabe contemplates retiring for the night, and turns off the bedside lamp.

At some point, maybe you just have to find a cave to go crawl around in until you can’t anymore.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Kate the Great said...

Your inner monologue is fascinating and hilarious. Thanks for sharing.

10:47 AM  
Anonymous Moses Malone said...

The Afghan girl with the green eyes is, in fact, alive (as of 2001). I have a National Geographic with an update story. She's Pashtun, has some kids, is illiterate, and says of the recent changes in her part of the world: "life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace and order."
Of course, the magazine people had her pose for another picture in the same pose. The two pictures face each other across two full pages of the magazine. In the first picture she projects natural beauty. Strong, and without the dehumanizing refinement of cosmetics. Now, her skin is worn, especially around the cheekbones, where it seems to have been roughed by a sort of eczema. Her eyebrows grow together across her nose, and not-so-light traces of hair trail down across her forehead. I see in her gaze not the wildcat defiance of the first picture, but a kind of human hostility. The first picture was striking because it portrayed an innocence marked by ferocity, not a common combination in Western aesthetics. Now, the innocence is gone and only the woman remains. Those famous eyes are hidden behind a litany of blemishes, and noting this it becomes clear that it was always about familiar beauty, not a foreign conception of it. The only novelty was the setting. A beauty by our standards, discovered in the most unlikely of places. Does the woman today give the lie to the things we read into the original image? Perhaps not: it was never about an individual, always about the idea of third-world childhood, raw beauty, the noble savage. I wonder what Kipling would have said.

6:32 PM  

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