cunnilingus and psychiatry have brought us to this
- tony soprano
electric word, 'life' - it means forever
OK, SO WE'VE been doing ironic distance for a while now. how's it working out for y'all? me, i'm bored with it. i'd like to propose an ironic engagement to replace ironic distance.
engagement? well, doing stuff intensely and wholeheartedly even though everything is ironic.
ironic? you know: what you believe is kind of arbitrary - it comes down to accidents of birth and history and it could have been otherwise. i like democracy, for example. if i'd been born long enough ago there'd be no democracy for me to like. i might have liked equity or fairness, and argued for those things in my little life, but there'd be no democracy.
richard rorty calls this irony: realising that your beliefs don't transcend history but instead come from history.. but he argues that they're no less important for being historical accidents, because everything is a historical accident.
anyway. i have an ironic relationship with astrology. or maybe a pragmatic one. that is: i can easily see how astrology could be meaningless. however, i happen to fit embarrassingly well the profile for someone born when i was: smack bang in the middle of pisces. and advice for pisceans often turns out to be pretty fucking appropriate for me.
EXCUSE ME. JUST hadta let off a lil steam. where was i?
anyway: i read my horoscope. i take the advice seriously, even though i know it was probably written by some witless mooncalf. i don't care. i like my little paragraph of advice.
the other day it said something like 'don't wait too long to organise some quiet time today!'
'ok!' i said. 'if it seems like i need some quiet time, which quite frankly i don't! but thanks for thinking of me, automated horoscope robot!'
may as well be polite to the robots, that's my feeling on the matter. one day they may rule the world.
anyway, later in the day i was exhausted and sitting on a step at uni holding a cup of coffee and feeling overwhelmed and a lil melancholy.
'fuck this!' i thought and then i thought 'hey! better follow the robot's advice! one day they may rule the world, after all!'
also, in movies you should always follow the advice of horoscopes and crazy people and gypsies and tarot cards which are always death. movies are highly superstitious. i got up to follow the advice, and wandered along to the university spiritual centre. spiritual centre?
spiritual centres have replaced chapels in public spaces, the way 7/11s have replaced mum-and-dad delicatessens. that is, they're pretty much exactly the same thing but with less personality cos they try to cater for a wider audience. in the hospitals i wander through on weekends they have them too: all non-denominational stained glass and things made of wood and chairs arranged to face an emptiness that once stood for god.
at RMIT, the university i go to, there's a hall with wooden floors and a pump organ. i went and played it one day for fun. mmm.
if you walk upstairs like i did, there's a little balcony with a little buddhist altar. i sat there for a while. it made me happy. i looked at the altar. it was festooned with paper daisies and burnt matchsticks and the husks of tealights. i didn't think that was so great. i went to go and talk to the chaplain.
actually i couldn't find a chaplain but i found a baby chaplain. she was kind of cute, actually. i ended up telling her this story:
3. a parable on poverty
ONE TIME I was up near mount warning in south queensland. i was hitchhiking: i stood by the road and waited for cars and when they came i stuck out my thumb and tried to look, y'know, inoffensive. it went like it usually does which is like this: there weren't any cars and then there were cars and then there weren't any cars and then there were cars and then there weren't any cars and then there was a car and it stopped and lo! there was a man inside, looking friendly.
he had a beard. my bearded-driver alarm bells started going off but what to do? no-one else was stopping and he had a nice smile. i got in.
we talked and it turned out he was a jesuit monk.
'pretty nice car you've got for a monk,' i said. if i'd been a detective i would have worn a suit while i said this. my partner would have worn a suit too and would have leafed through the monk's mail while the monk tried to look calm.
'how do you reckon he does it, dave?' i would have said to my partner. 'i mean, i make more than a monk, don't i dave?'
dave would nod without looking at me. he'd be looking at the return addresses on the envelopes instead of at me. i wouldn't be offended though being as how i'd know it was all part of an elaborate game of cat and mouse. so i wouldn't say 'dave! look at me when i'm talking to you!'
instead i'd say 'and how would you describe my car, dave?' i wouldn't look at dave while i said this. i'd look at the monk.
'it's a shitbox,' dave would say, and now he'd look at the monk too.
'a shitbox. so how does frere jacques here afford a nice car like this? maybe the brother can give me a few pointers on how i'm managing my fucking finances.'
but anyway what am i thinking! that would be soooo rude and the nice bearded man was giving me a lift and anyway he had the perfect comeback which was this:
'it's not mine. we take a vow of poverty but we get to use stuff like this if we need to.'
i thought on this for a while. it seemed kind of tricky, the way he could ostensibly own nothing and yet still get to drive around in a fancy car.
something was fishy.
anyway, i told that story to the baby chaplain but i didn't put in the bit about the detectives. i just made that bit up now.
she said 'yeah, the nuns where i study keep telling me i should sign up and be a nun. i say "fine, if i can do chastity the way you guys do poverty."'
'yeah, like: "there's plenty of men around, but i don't own any of them,"' i said.
'"i just get to use them if i need to,"' she said.
'i like the way your mind works!' i said and then i said 'okbye!' and walked outside.
outside there were vines thick as fists knotted into the wall. the sky made all the light indirect so everything seemed to glow from the inside.
love to all