Time is the only irreplaceable thing we have, while we have it. It is like breath. You cannot live without it and it goes on without you, time and the need to draw breath. We take our time here for granted, turn over in bed and … those who knew you are suddenly speaking of you in the past tense. One question that gnaws most of us — how to be productive in the time we are given? The closest I come is trying to learn and understand the reasons for things and setting them out as clearly as I can, in the unknowable interval that remains.
I’ve been writing here for years now, one among countless millions who keep this kind of public journal. Why put these thoughts out there? Looking for company, monkey face? Heh? Is that it, you’re looking for company in your existential isolation in Death’s well-appointed anteroom? Why don’t you take a class or something, stop wasting everyone’s time?
I am driven forward by the need to dig toward some deeper truth, I suppose, to reach some fuller, more nuanced, understanding of the nature of this complicated arrangement. I feel especially driven now, in an age when the value of all facts and every truth, such as we can grasp them, so often yields to short-term monetary/power calculations.
It’s an old story. The new pharaoh, would-be founder of an upstart dynasty, always sent his minions into the tombs of the former dynasty, to scrape their faces off the walls of history, erase them from the afterlife. History written in the blood of the passive and powerless, the helpless dead, by the supremely ambitious, the aggressively ambitious, the insane: fratricides, matricides, genocides, the movers and shakers. Oy.
I suppose part of this writing I do is a mourning process. The difficulty of accepting that certain cherished things of value, long friendships and loving relations, are actually already dead and need to be buried, their sad passing grieved. Permanent estrangements, which can be meticulously detailed and flawlessly justified — on both sides. “He feels like you don’t respect him,” says the wife of a man I finally find it impossible to respect. Just because he has an uncontrollable reflex to kick you in the balls from time to time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t otherwise respect him! Peace making conversations are futile, once the line is crossed, implacable certainty sets in like death itself, on both sides. There is no convincing the other that he would hate being kicked in the nuts as much as you do — after all, by trying to explain this to him, in your superior fucking way, you are kicking him in the same sensitive place. Plus, you don’t respect him anyway, that much is clear to everybody.
This other fellow here cannot help but lie (I’m not talking about the president now). His need to change reality to make it less shameful leads him to do things like maxing out all of his dead father’s credit cards, having the bills sent to a secret post office box, presenting the cash advances to his wife every week as commissions from his steady sales from the job he pretends to go to everyday. His wife may get mad at him sometimes, as when she discovers the real reason he is declaring a crushing surprise bankruptcy, but he knows just what to do. Threaten a bloody death to everyone. His loyal wife will later get angry at anyone who brings any of this up. Why wouldn’t she? As for the man, he is right to hate anyone who makes his wife upset. Fuck them!
People pretend for the sake of peace. Peace is wonderful, but pretend peace doesn’t last long, unless everyone agrees to keep pretending no matter what. The impossibility of being objective enough to know when you are in the right or when you’re being brutal and harsh — in its way as troubling as the sudden end of all joy, pondering and trouble. All we have is our good will toward others, until that good will is returned badly, for the unknowable stretch of time each of us has left.