the sweet corn of Hurley
Sunday, August 17 2003
Yeah, I want to get crazy, I want to be altered. I want to break out of whatever this thing is that imprisons me with ordinary thoughts such as "I'm too cold" or "I'm hungry" or "I'm horny." I'm not a voice hearer, at least not when I've had a reasonable amount of sleep. But there are voiceless messages overwhelming me and demanding my attention. How can I quiet them? Strong stimulants quiet the hunger urge and create a background level of contentment, but that contentment is shot through with weird urges that distract me and keep me from doing the things that are important accomplishments in a life. A life: that's the thing we get to work with. It comes with talents and handicaps. Everything else is how we apply that life. Despite the way mothers treat their infants, it's really not all that fragile - be not too gentle with that life - it is a tool and it needs to be used. Just don't let the edges get too dull.
But technology, that's another story. I fear I overuse the word patina, but allow me to throw it out once more. The patina of modernity - and I speak of the post-modern, technologic form - is a fucking house of cards. Something trivial with completely unanticipated side-effects brought down the northeast power grid - the thing that keeps our heads out of the drink of pre-20th-Century-inconvenience. Meanwhile the monoculture of Microsoft is proving to be a breeding ground of virtual pathogens not unlike a food market in Shanghai. There's so much to say about the arrogance of Man when facing down the overwhelming pressures of entropy. But it's all obvious. I really don't like spending too much time wallowing in the obvious. But I do want to reiterate that the stock bubble of 1999 was nothing compared to the fossil-fueled modernity bubble we're in right now. If you have stocks that benefit from ours being modern times, be sure to sell them before the modernity bubble collapses.
I don't know if I prefer this either, but where I end up wallowing is in the unchangeable stank of being human, of wanting the things wanted by my ancestors before they knew about potatoes, corn, and silicon wafers. A diplomatic but progressive para-homunculus placates my id and tells it I can use the corn and silicon wafers to achieve and even transcend the basic needs, but why the basic needs? Why can't the id simply be exiled to the fascist utopia he prefers?
I took the dogs to Fording Place on Esopus Creek again today. This time there were several cars parked there, and all of the people who had come there appeared to be fishing. I carried Eleanor across the most raging part of the creek, though Sally took care of herself by swimming. On the eastern shore of the Esopus, we walked south down a trail to a cornfield which had already been harvested. There was, however, plenty of corn left behind, and I busted open a few ears for the dogs. You should have seen them running around jealously carrying their corn ears - it was the cutest thing a nominal carnivore can do with its food. I tried eating some of that corn raw off the cob and found it almost obnoxious with sweetness.
Driving home, I passed (as I always do) the single-wide trailer on the corner of Dug Hill Road and Hurley Mountain Road. It's a humble abode, surrounded with garishly-colored rounded-cornered plastic children's outdoor play equipment and rusting old American vehicles. Still, the fact that this trailer is on an important corner gives me an unexpected feeling of jealousy. Is it possible that they have something - something essential - that I lack? If they're the Joneses, is there something I should be keeping up with? Today I saw the matriarch of the trailer clambering into her pickup truck, and my jealousy wasn't exactly re-enforced, but the mystery continued. She must have weighed 300 pounds, and she looked every cellulitic pound of it. Whatever it is that they have that I don't, they conceal it well. Despite all the evidence, my strange jealousy remains.
Sometimes I have a sense that everything in the past is meaningless and that suddenly we've reached a point where we've "grounded" and from now on it's all about a future uncontaminated by the past. As I wrote this, something made me shout "It's ridiculous!" and Sally the Dog looked over at me. For a dog, she can be pretty damn patronizing.
I had a housecall tonight in a church in the Rondout part of Kingston. Only, it wasn't actually a functioning church, it was a private residence occupied by a recording studio wizard and his family - I'd first met them back during the winter when they lived in a remote wooded area to the west of Accord. It seems that every other building in this part of Rondout is a church, but only a few of them are used in the tax-exempt manner for which they were built. As a house, this particular church makes for a massive living space. The central nave is being used as a music studio, but only about a tenth of it seems necessary for this purpose.
My task was to come and get DSL working, but as usual for DSL, something was wrong. This particular DSL package was being offered through MSN, and it looked as if I'd have to set up an account manually. The idea was that things would somehow be easier this way, but they most certainly were not. The front end wizard took forever to walk me through all the unnecessary or already-completed tasks such as hooking up the cables and installing the line filters, and then hung in a completely unresponsive (though not quite crashed) state and refused to proceed. That's the thing about don't-worry-your-pretty-head-about-it installation wizards full of whiz-bang animations - when something unforseen by their designers crops up, there's no canned messages available to tell you what is happening - or most importantly - how long this is going to take. And there's no way to bypass the wizard. You have no recourse but the tech support number, which (though answered in Bangalore, India) is unlikely to be staffed on a Sunday night.
Meanwhile the studio wizard guy and his family were barbecuing a variety of thick slabs of meat out in the courtyard. It was beautiful setting for a barbecue. There beneath the ivy-covered bricks and across the Sunday-shoes-worn paving stones, it looked more like a scene in Europe than a place dependent upon John Ashcroft for Justice.
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