My neighbor’s little girls are running from the hail. How there can be hail, let alone precipitation of any kind in this part of California, in this part of May, eludes me…just as the girls elude the hail. Thing is, they aren’t. They are screaming and yelling for their daddy, and at the same moment they are running in the opposite direction, away from his front door. Now they are screaming and running back toward it, now running away. It helps that there are three of them. Things make sense in a mob mentality that would otherwise appear loopy. Together, one can be frightened and play at being frightened and seek escape from danger while seeking more danger…all at the same time.
The ice pellets of hail bounce on my windowsill. They hit the window glass and disappear, probably to melt on the concrete below. The girls are running back and forth, daddy, daddy. This is the ultimate excitement, to experience something new and frozen in these warm California environs, to do so on one’s own, within hailing distance…no pun intended…of a protective human presence.
I have planted tomato seedlings in their honor and intent to label each with a girl’s name. They will move in the not distant future, and I will be sad. Perhaps with plants named in their collective honor, they will return to watch the tomatoes grow. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a tomato in Menlo. And the process of healing is endless, not much like the event described in books. I am being healed. Yes, their parents are getting divorced, the father currently living near me. But they are not divorced from reality, this I can tell. It’s going to be very different for them, compared to my own childhood experience. Good. Hang in there, kids, and might as well have your own tomatoes.
Unless you are Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and whether it’s tomatoes or something else, you can never have enough. Some people are like this, I know, but fortunately not all people…though people like this are either more empowered than ever before in this country, or the condition is simply become more apparent. Rolling out of the Menlo Park Hardware Store, it occurs to me on this bright wheelchair morning that Strauss-Kahn’s arrest was all a mistake. Normally, the powers that be make sure that such things simply don’t happen. However, in this case, the International Monetary Fund isn’t the stuff of mass media, and interviews with the IMF chairman aren’t really the stuff of Oprah, so the New York City police cranked up the wheels of justice as they would for any guy staying at the Midtown Sofitel. Especially a French guy. And now, dammit, it’s too late. How do we undo this, now that we know that this isn’t just any old French guy, but a Somebody French guy? Damn.
Thing is, the separate justice systems for rich and poor are so entrenched in this country that when the public really sees the law working equitably, well, it’s a little scary. The prisons are a little scary. The idea that a rich and powerful person could ever find himself in one, quietly drifts from unthinkable to occasionally, remotely possible. Still, no reason to worry, you just need a backup plan. You just need a way to let someone know Who You Are, before the wheels of justice drag you conveyor-belt fashion into Rikers Island.
Empty storefronts along Santa Cruz Ave. Loss brings change, that is the good news. And when those at the top demand that those in the middle absorb too much change, especially the negative variety, the natives get restless. Or at least twitchy. As for this native, change is in the air…along with Armageddon, the latest world’s end slated for this weekend, according to one religious group. The next world’s end will also be scheduled for a weekend, I predict, America being the practical workplace that it is. Might as well get product out and profits up before it all ends.
And what is the take away regarding Strauss-Kahn? Know what’s important in life, of course. Power and your impact on the world being both ephemeral and hollow for its own sake. Don’t be intimidated. Any man is weak if his feeling of strength relies on sexually subduing chambermaids. But that’s a bit extreme. What if one’s feeling of strength relies on anything physical?
Not very wise, either. I am ahead of the curve in the physical deterioration race, it seems. More exactly, the race to accept the fact of bodily decline. Information helps. At one point, it downright panicked me, the notion that getting out of bed and standing up have become so fraught. My balance wavers, the possibility of falling feels real. Which is real, I learned, thanks to the normal cycles of the human body. Balance improves in all of us as the day goes on. I noticed this more, of course. I fear it more, unless I have a bit of information. Even a sketchy sense of endocrine cycles helps. Take it slow, that is the upshot. Try not to succumb to fear, that is the other. And, now and then, another, third upshot…that the world’s religions share a common thread about looking beyond the body. Which means? Stay open, I think.
Overall, be grateful that I am not Strauss-Kahn. Yet does a part of me still want to be like him? To be handsome in a graying sort of way. To command attention. To command anything. To get attention. To find others giving you attention, at attention. Actually, I would settle for recognition. In the eyes of the locals, for example. Recognition of what? Since I can’t quite recognize what I want recognized, maybe it’s time to look within, where so much is always unrecognizable.
And as for Strauss-Kahn, cool it with the schadenfreude. Kill the pig, slit his throat, spill his blood…being a rather poor recipe for accomplishing the big picture. Such as working with Angela Merkel. What are we trying to do, after all?
Jane and I are learning how to be together. Being rather on the high energy side, our circuits can easily spark…both positively and negatively, to extend the electrical metaphor. And at times the whole relationship evolution leaves me anxious. In terms of both fear and anticipation. To quote a song currently under development with the Menlo Park Chorus, I’d say that I have spring fever, but it isn’t even spring.
So what is it? Some believe that we earthlings have within a remarkably short space of time knocked the planet out of the Holocene era and into one yet unnamed. No, it isn’t even spring, or just barely. I keep turning the heat on in the mornings. While I slide into a stage of life that is either beyond seasons or composed of all four. While the inner and outer worlds converge. How many more overnight flights to Britain can I stand? Simultaneously, how many more can the planet stand…or the fuel markets stand? Everything seems to be ending or beginning, flipping over into the next. May you live in interesting times. Both mine and everyone’s.