Monday, January 10, 2005

Even if only for a moment

It's not how i remembered the situation. We went to that spot in the Valley both of us fondly remembered. 2/3 of the way down, you could see the bushes that were overhanging the raveen cut in the side of the hill. Lying on your backin the early afternoon, you could look straight up and see a hundred thousand pieces of the sun, but it wasn't too bright. At 25 degrees celcius, it was hot enough outside to be a bit uncomfortable, but the shade from our secluded grove created a refuge from the heat. The breeze was flowing downhill toward the river. The water was too polluted to swim in.

We brought a couple beer in our backpacks to compliment the atmosphere in the grove. Conversation seemed to flow freely from our mouths after just a couple. The hesitations manifested in our formal pleasantries were somehow officially abandoned. It only took a moment, but somehow we both knew it was safe to voice those primal unedited thoughts; the same thoughts that might cause the person behind you in the coffee shop/bookstore to imagine you a heathen based on an out of context verbalized moment of enthusiasm. Not the same ethusiasm that is associated with meeting your favorite uncle at the airport. The type where the comment is partially meant to be obscure, maybe offensive or out of character, but is supposed to provoke a response from the person you are speaking with. One can only guess whether a cautious smirk or a momentary look of confusion will present itself on the face of the intended recipient of the comment. A joke without a punchline, but twice as funny.

We would consider each other close friends, but if we had to add up the number of hours we actually spent together, the tally would seem dramatically low in reference to others we share our time with. Some people think that an unspoken connection means that you can finish another persons sentence,or you have a good idea what the other person is thinking. Perhaps that is one practical definition, but in the understanding we seem to share, many times i couldn't even guess what they were thinking about. The connection was that no statement was out of bounds. No matter what the comment was, we both knew that the fundamental relationship that we share would remain unshaken.

We decided that moments such as these do not occur nearly as often as we would like, so we would stay in our Grove until the sun faded behind the hills. It was as if, for this moment, we were absolutely content. Thoughts and dreams could be realized in this place and time. Feelings of goodwill, optimism and peace had finally found a place to reside in our conciousness. It was as if this moment were the starting point for the "next part" of our lives, the "last part" being all of those moments in the past we hadn't realized that this is what our lives should have been.

It was as if they appeared from thin air, a group of five or six what looked to be twelve year old kids had invaded our secluded refuge from time, society and unachieved potential. The sun had not yet reached the hills, in fact was likely a couple of hours away. They saw us, but paid no attention, actively engaged in youthful games of heroism and violence. From that moment on, the floodgates were officially closed. The invisible barriers were mutually securely in their well worn positions.

Suddenly, i realized that the entire euphoric afternoon had systematically come to a close and i found myself walking through suburban roadways wondering how realistic the thoughts and dreams we had discussed were in the presence of uniformly stuccoed cookie cutter houses. Could all of our well intentioned idealism really be translated to inhabit the world that i was now fully present in. I think that in reality, our conversation ended hours before we parted company. As we strolled back to the house, subject matter could likely be deemed uninspired. It was silently mutually agreed that what we had experienced could not be duplicated in the remaining hours of the day, in fact, any interaction beyond the moments it took to tread back to the apartment would seem forced and almost desparate.

Perhaps that is why we can remain closely connected even though we live far apart and speak seldom when not in person. An uncomfortable anxiety comes over me when i think what might happen to our relationship if we spent more time together. But as it stands, i know that when we next meet, i will experience a hybrid form of that day, when anything was possible and we were both unconditionally satisfied with our moment in time.

Thoughts on a Quality Life

It eventually catches up with you. The finely tuned sense of how others behavior might affect you, how you're getting a rough deal or not getting your dues. We were raised as members of a community through our journey to post modernism. We live like kings, actually better if you were to make the distinction based on conveniences and comfort. We are trained to become human dynamo's, generating the energy needed to accumulate wealth and posessions as a way to feel satisfaction. I suppose you could also say that we are programmed to be noticed, to display our power in a fashion that will garner the most attention. The Alpha male ideal, only gender inclusive.

A display of "success" can, without doubt, be an impressive encounter. A collection of stories and objects with yourself as the lead character. However, i wouldn't say that that sort of display is appealing to me, or for that matter a large number of others. It really boils down to what i grew up thinking success was. I wanted a Porche when I was 12, and to have 21 million dollars. I actually quoted that figure to an acquaintance, who promptly stated that it would never happen. I was instantly offended, feeling as if the statement were an attack on my intillect and ability to achieve.

Sometimes i can't believe how i based my self worth when i was younger. I was sure that buying that sweet 1970 GMC custom with the tinted window and the polished wheels would give me the confidence to be more outgoing and assured that i was on the right track. It truly was a thing of beauty, but once acquired, I think it allowed me the opportunity to have a breakthrough in my understanding. As soon as i got the truck, i was proud but didn't want to brag about it all day to everyone. I finally realized that with the aspirations to base my identity on the materials i was able to collect, those very objects would be the objects that defined me. It was like a light had turned on in the attic and all of the antique ideals and assumptions had to be sorted through to accomidate the emerging ideal that would slowly permeate through the rest of my conciousness.

I am well aware of how people justify spending alot of money on an object. My convenient excuse was that i was buying quality items. I stand by that notion to this day. What i have discovered in the meantime is that quality really is what we should be striving for in all aspects in our lives. I suppose quality is something that is subjective, but its definition is something that is worth discovering for yourself.

Relationships, actions, thoughts, these are all things that we encounter every day. They are the things that should be regarded as quality. There is nothing wrong with the accumulation of wealth or objects in our lives, but in order for any of that to be fulfilling, we must build a foundation that is of the highest quality so that the rest of the things we encounter will not be wasted.