WALDO IN REVERY (from Common Lives, a novel)
“I cannot say for certain what began my transformation,” Waldo said. “I only know that it occurred sometime in mid-June, probably on a Wednesday, or possibly, a Tuesday, but it was June. In the process, I suddenly saw everything in a new perspective, as if awakening from a very deep sleep. I saw reality with fresh eyes. Rip Van Winkle is real, you see? And, what did I discover? Just this:
“I was born in America, in the City of San Francisco just before mid-century. As I grew in that storied city, I was imbued with both the Spirit of Liberty and the Phoenix – that magic bird which resurrects itself again and again from the ashes of its own destruction. I grew up believing in Superman, Manifest Destiny, Truth, Justice and the American Way. I was the refugee child of refugee parents, themselves the children of refugees. We looked for a better way on alien shores as aliens among aliens. We took our place in the legion of strangers pushing and jostling for the top – hoping to look back on poverty and want, and to feel smugly and arrogantly removed from the incessant rhythmic fear, which had started all that long march.
“I grew up in suburbs, being numbered among the handful raised in blessed innocence, free from teeming, toiling city masses. We learned the horror of crabgrass; we observed neighbors piling bricks up to build barbecues. We found pleasure in the smallest things in a mundane world, taking solace in rigid normalcy, created by following rigid rules. We aspired to concrete patios, toured on weekends through farmlands in noisy, fuel-inefficient machines which ultimately doomed the very orchards we’d come to see; or took slow rolls through upper class neighborhoods to see where we thought we were going.
“Those high neighborhoods were always sheltered by sculpted trees, surrounded by acres of immaculate lawn – no sign of crabgrass anywhere! They had Japanese, or Mexican gardeners, bright flowerbeds, eagle-crested double car garages, and gated drives a city-street wide. Those drives were stainless, absolutely unblemished. I can only assume that they were scrubbed daily by Irish washerwomen .
“To make a long story short, I was sent to college – the first of all my tribe. Set on the course of upward mobility, professionalism, immaculate lawns and sanitized driveways, I married and committed to a career. Never well paid, always overworked, I eventually examined my circumstances and decided that I was part of a large system that demanded more expenditure of my time and attention than I usually made back from it. Further, it demanded that I dedicate whole sections of my future to it, regardless of my personal motives or aspirations! I was compelled socially, economically and culturally to serve that damned system as a blind, following member – no better than mindless serving ants plugging themselves genetically in and out of nests, mindlessly serving a queen, whose sole purpose is to mindlessly push out eggs to ensure continuation of that self-same mindless estate. Well, to put it mildly, I was pissed!
“Glancing about, I noticed that a good two-thirds of the world was starving. While those people were dying, I was being paid to help perpetuate an all-consuming ethos that dooms the majority of humankind to war, famine, pestilence, murder and screaming neglect. I’m the son of refugees! How can I eat well and consider the world well ordered with those millions of others – the mirrors of my own ancestral impetus – still awash in the chaos, which my forebears had so intelligently fled? I could not.
“I, therefore, divested myself of every vestige of my former reality: wife, family, friends, career. I ran off to find myself, wondering all the while why the price of that journey should be so painfully high. I lost myself in drugs, booze, sex and cheap thrills. I walked ocean beaches, hiked mountain trails, re-observed city streets, and wrote and wrote and wrote, trying through the recording of all those sights, sounds and experiences to find some common thread among them, and in me, so that I would not forever remain an outsider. In this fashion, find my way back in some improbably acquiescent present, imagined in a perfect future, to my imperfect, misunderstood, but now clearly missed past.
‘You know you can come back in,’ The ex-wife said. ‘We’ve all wished for freedom and creative individuality. Your friends will understand why you failed and admire you for trying.’
“As I mentioned, on a Wednesday in mid-June, approximately three years into my odyssey, I suddenly saw everything in a new perspective. The remnants of dream were washed from my mind, and I confronted stark reality.
“Until the moment when the mists cleared, I was as the others. I walked, I talked, and I carried on the day’s business without hesitation. I went home in the evenings, packed into cattle cars with my fellows. I sank down onto my isolated bed at night, alone in my isolated cell, conserving energy for the effort of that forever approaching ‘Next Day.’ All remained the same when I awoke, but now I saw it clearly for what it was, and the questions came faster and with greater force. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What has come to pass?
“Each day, I observed crowds spilling out of vehicles and doorways into the early morning city air. Each day, I watched them queue for bread, for work, for a drink, for love. They eddied and swayed in great mass, afloat in the polluted ether of overcrowded, urban life, elbowing for position, shouting for attention, separate yet fixed within the same stream (as oil in water, a colloidal ambient suspension, a physical chemical reaction like any other). What is this? I demanded to know. What is happening? Why is this all so? Clearly these others among whom I accomplished my time were not all the same. No two were alike as peas in a pod. No one the mirror of another. (Oh, yes, we behave in generally predictable fashion – the degree of response varies from individual to individual, but a tack in the shoe usually causes the wearer to react. However, there are differences and they must be there for some reason, although we spend most of our time trying to deny or destroy them, for generally irrational cause).
“That common denominator I had been seeking seemed finally within reach. I began to observe my fellows and fellowesses more closely. Since we were all involved in the same great system into which we fed our energies – each of us without marked mental consideration – there must be something to it. The alternative, which I’d most recently been pursuing, was a form of outlawry or exile. Yet, outlaws and exiles depend in whole or in part on the system as well, if simply by preying upon it. Even survivalists come down from the hills for a gallon of gas to make themselves ‘independent’ of the rest of us. (Incidentally, if nothing cataclysmic happens, those survivalists are going to look pretty silly. Still, the current state of the cosmos appears to be bearing them out). In any event, the outlaws and the exiles are a minute fraction of the whole. I hence turned my full attention upon the majority.
“You see, from channeling my interest on a narrower and narrower track, transmuting my initial preoccupation with the cosmic to contemplation of my own navel, I have at last looked up from that infinitesimal focus of anatomy to perceive my individual smallness in the scheme of things. I see my relative impotence in the face of the world’s great consortiums of nations, corporations, religions and other power groupings. Yet, I am not frustrated by my size. I see the power of my personal vision. Because it is so personal, it is overwhelmingly intense, and that is the precisely directed laser, I as the surgeon will use to help erode the deadly cancerous tumor, which presently corrupts the body, mind and spirit of humankind!”
“Not all at once, of course.
“Reality is the key,” Waldo continued, “not dream, not fantasy, not wanting, nor wishing. Reality rules. In order to live a proper, that is, a real life we must take what comes as it comes. There is no formula, no magic spell, and no special prayer – which facts protect us from charlatans. We are all lost at sea, and all coping – president, priest, or peasant. That’s just the way it is.
“So, where do we go from here? Wherever we want. We are not bound to one reality, to one anything. We make gods a dime a dozen. We are the dreamers. Ursula LeGuin is right (marvelous mind, great poet and story teller. Don’t know her? You probably should. In her classic Lathe of Heaven, sleep is not a respite, and dreams are tools ).”
VERY IMPORTANT – WORTH YOUR NOTICE:Now more than ever, Oregon teachers are digging into their own pockets for back to school supplies. When teachers can dig no deeper, students go without.
Join fellow citizens in America’s Back to School Challenge. Together, we can be a positive force not just for Oregon, but all of America’s public school children.
- Vegetables for Victory!
2010 BLOG REPORT:
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.
A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.
In 2010, there were 60 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 117 posts. There were 131 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 62mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.
The busiest day of the year was August 14th with 71 views. The most popular post that day was YOUR ENEMIES ARE UP.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were allhatnocattle.net, zazzle.com, mail.yahoo.com, statistics.bestproceed.com, and stumbleupon.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for it’s not fascism when we do it, iww, thomas paine, international workers of the world, and republican fascists.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
3 EASTER ISLAND BLUES February 2010
4 DENIAL NO LONGER AN OPTION September 2010
Critical Mass Wakes Up
David DeGraw, Alternet, writes: “It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99% of the US population no longer has political representation. The US economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us. Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99% of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep. . . and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the US middle class.”
At the center of this group is the Business Roundtable, an organization representing Fortune 500 CEOs that is also interlocked with several lead elite organizations. Most Americans have never heard of the Business Roundtable. However, it is the most influential and powerful Economic Elite organization. READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/economy/145996/the_business_roundtable%3A_the_most_powerful_corporate_business_club_most_americans_have_never_heard_of
Corporatists declared war on the rest of us. Time to fight back with full vigor and from every side, Let Freedom Ring!
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