Yesterday Middlebrow and I were doing yard work. Or, Middlebrow was doing yard work and I was approximate to him in a way that might suggest I was also invested in this labor, whether I was or not. The point is, we were in the yard and we were doing some manual type labor, wearing gloves, using tools, getting into and near the dirt.
Not very long, minutes-wise, into this endeavor I might have said something like, "This is boring." Because it was. It's basically the same physical action or actions over and over. Then one might look down the long row of rose bushes that stretches from the sidewalk to the fence and using some kind of fancy algebraic formula, one might guess at the amount of time it will take to finish the project and then one might imagine the boredom stretched out over those minutes and days and one might become instantly exhausted.
"This is why we went to college," said Middlebrow. To avoid such labor, I'm guessing. And it's true. I hated weeding in the summer, when my mom made me, I hated mowing that one day when I actually did it for money.
But it's necessary, isn't it? The labor? The weeds grow, and they grow and grow unless we pull them and then put down this miracle fabric which prevents them from growing. And the roses bloom and then they die, and someone has to trim them otherwise, how will the new buds find the sun?
I contemplated these ideas, labor, adulting, as I did some light weeding in the cool morning breeze. It felt good, but it was still boring. Also, my back hurt.
And then I thought about social media, and how obsessed it is, right now, in this moment with one particular gorilla. And how everyone and their fucking dog is using it as an occasion to bludgeon everyone else about a pet obsession: The gorilla proves that we don't care about endangered species (this one might be true); the gorilla proves that parents are distracted/lazy/bad; the gorilla proves that unless we are vegans, we're not allowed to feel compassion for the gorilla; the gorilla proves that zoos are bad; the gorilla proves that zoos are good; the zoo was justified in killing the gorilla; the zoo was unjustified in killing the gorilla. All these ideas basically come down to one thing: people who don't agree with me are stupid.
This seems to be the general sentiment these days, in social media, in politics, in entertainment, in sports, in life.
I have been guilty of it, but the quiet boring contemplation of yard work and the busy, hectic meaningless posturing of social media has given me a lot to think about.
Also I am contemplating a daily "black out" for my whole family.
I look forward to your thoughts.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
You must do the one thing that you think you
cannot do, Eleanor Roosevelt tells me. With all
the things due, it’s true, I do not think I can do
all the things I have yet to do. If you think
you can or think you can’t, you’re right. Says who?
Maybe Henry Ford, who wanted to do to
us before we did to him. Maybe it’s true
that thinking is key, that we do as we believe
or we believe as we do. There is only do,
there is no try, another sage says. Try as I do
I accomplish very little with much to do.
Sometimes I sit. I often admire the view.
Piles shift in space rather than disappear.
I’m on sabbatical. Good thing I have a year.