The Vision of Simplicity
They were the happiest times of my life. I lived in places as tiny as a one-car garage and needed no more. I still don't.
I no longer live that way now. I live in a two bedroom house with nearly every room filled with piles of possessions, scattered, unorganized, and impossible to find anything in them when immediately needed. Never mind why. It is too personal for the Internet. All I will say is that nine-tenths of these possessions are not mine, and neither, any longer, is the house.
The vision of simplicity haunts me night and day. The memory of staring at a plain, blank wall of white-painted brick (no insulation there and a winter thermostat turned down to 65F), while my mind entertained itself completely and happily with my thoughts, plans, and ambitions, is now like some lost life of eternal youth in elfland.
And whether it is simplicity plain with a fiberboard bookcase and a cheap cafeteria table (I like large desktops), both from K-mart, or simplicity fancy in the photographs with glass brick room dividers, Barcelona chairs, and a few strategic throw rugs on the warm, laminated floor, it tugs at me, it worries me, and it harries me.
Silence. How I long for silence. Not just the mere silence of an empty room, with muffled noises from the heat or the air conditioning, the hot water tank or the outside traffic. I long for true silence, which most have never even known, the silence of the empty desert when the constant, cloying wind goes dead calm, the silence of an old recording booth, muffled in grey egg-crate foam walls, behind a heavy steel door, looking at the engineering console through a double -paned window, and companioned only by a Shure dynamic microphone, big as your fist, from back in the days when electronics were made in the USA, with lots of heavy, real steel, and transistors hand-tacked to the boards with big silver globs of solder.
That silence. That quiet.
Never to be found now in the endless, walless public phone booth where repeating choruses of the first notes of Beethoven's Fifth, Chattanooga Choo Choo, or Who Let The Dogs Out spring from here, there, and over yonder, until everyone is finally milling around with their hand to one ear, jabbering contentedly, airing out laundry, both dirty and clean, for any to hear who carefully listens.
Never to be found in the open building atrium where the workmen are running a screaming grinder in a shower of sparks, replacing an old revolving door with a new, automatic, one. And the maintenance men pump the piston-driven cherry picker up and down with a kachunga, kachunga, kachunga while they put fresh light bulbs in the two-storey-high ceiling fixtures.
An overheated fluorescent, backlighting a sheet steel sculpture on the walls, explodes spontaneously, turning heads and sending the anti-terrorist security guards sprinting.
Never to be found in the outer waiting room of the Open MRI Office, with the ceiling mounted television, tuned to One Life To Live, presiding over all like Pallas Athena over Troy, as you are surrounded by the legally mandated, faux impressionist, pencil pastels, glazed in the heavy wooden frames--a participant in an unwilling artistic Battle of the Little Bighorn, where no one survives.
Patients are scratching their life story, one more time, with smeary ballpoint pens, on the sheets of paper held by the yellow translucent clipboard, for thirty minutes and more, while waiting to be irradiated.
Nor in the MRI room itself where the excess magnetic radiation buzzes the fillings in your molars. while the pallet and monstrous overhang, now open on three sides in deference to patient claustrophobia, goes thudthudthudthudthudthudthudthudthudthudthudthud--stopping and starting this over and over again, as each new slice of the complete picture is taken.
Nor ever anymore in an Eastern woods or farmer's field with five airliners flying overhead, full of people worrying, in the back of their minds, about terrorist hijackings; or three military interceptors, flying in different directions, ever ready to shoot down airliners, worried passengers and all, to protect us from terrorist hijackings.
Stop. Please stop. Please go away.