A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Shackles Of Fantasy

Age brings very few comforts. One of the least comfortable things about it, is how well you learn to read faces. This skill, combined with the hyperacusis of my watcher's disease, has led me to live in a world of starveling ghosts, whose minds are anywhere else but right here, right now.

You call it the real world.

So few people really see anything. Vision is just a coarse grained radar screen to keep people from running into lamposts. Watch the eyes of any ten people from the checkout cashier to the sidewalk passerby waiting for the Walk signal and you are looking at eyes that see only one lighthouse beacon in a darkening fog.

Even when two people talk to each other, do they ever do much more than occasionally glance at the target, tracking for signals of miscommunication? Most conversations that I see are conducted by people paying no more attention to the other party than they would to a microphone.

We have a gauntlet of second-hand tobacco smoke outside the front door of where I work. Most of the smokers chat standing side by side and staring straight ahead, essentially talking to the statue of the historical dignity or the unnamed soldier across the street.

There is a dead glitter in eyes that track only one thing to the exclusion of anything else--the store purchase, the Walk sign, the door handle. It is like multiple crumpling and restretching of a sheet of aluminium foil until the slightest rough pulling of it will cause the sheet to self-lacerate.

What occupies the minds behind those crumpled aluminum eyes? If my skill at reading faces is as good as I think it is, behind those eyes is the constant recycling of the questions, What will...? and What if...?

They are always in the past or the future, never the present, and fully three-quarters of their lives, I think, go by them in a blur.

It's hard to stay in the present. It's hard to be who you are and where you are. But it's worth it.

One of the most poignant things my father ever said to me was this, "All of a sudden, I'm an old man.....Where did the time go?"

Such questions you do not answer, even though you could. I didn't answer him, even though I knew the answer.


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