Empty Days

Friday, March 19, 2004



What it takes ::

There were two visions this week - I call them visions because I've seen something that in another, parallel life, I may have been spared from seeing and/or noticing. What you notice is what creates your world. Not the other way around.

First there was a young man in a state of such dereliction that it would be almost too generous to call him a hobo. No - he had a walkman, and he was obviously somebody with a hole to crawl to (or call that home), but his clothes were haphazard and dirty, he had eczema on his chin, and he walked in shuffling listless pace, with his eyes on the ground, oblivious and separated from the whole world - from which he could only expect contempt, and this irremediable knowledge was written all over him. A human being crossed out for good. In fact he didn't even look like a man - and that was perhaps the saddest thing about him, that he had no manhood whatsoever and had no hope of ever reaching that state.

Another was an actual hobo, an older man, obviously a drunkard, asking for pennies at the entrance of the grocery store - in a loud, clear voice of somebody who is past caring what anybody might think of him, or what he himself might think of himself. A man living in his own world of which he obviously thought very little - and, as with all drunkards, there was this unmistakable glint of hard-won personal philosophy in his eyes. That look of readiness for rejection, and forthcoming pain, and before-hand acceptance of all woe - he had all that in his eyes. Later on I saw him walking alone in the street - such loneliness stands out tall in a crowd where everyone is connected by uniformity of a way-of-life implied and accepted, and that is called society. There are a million signs that connect or disconnect you from that unseen entity. And sometimes you lack all of these secret signs and this you can't hide.

I notice because these are illuminated scriptures of my own evolving condition.

I am somewhere on the brink of these worlds of ultimate disconnection. Not quite there yet, because of the dignity I am still able to maintain for myself, and I force this dignity on those who look at me - they dare not write me off, because I am still capable of smothering their contempt with my own pride. I know that it would only take a complete collapse of that concept in my own mind for the whole world to fall over and squeeze me out of their realm.

Sometimes I am weak, really weak, but those spells are brief and do not last. Most of the time I am actually quite capable of snubbing the worst snob out his shoes. For some funny reason older women are especially obnoxious in that way - and they get my meaning every time they try to exert their haughtiness.

That's all it takes - resistance.

In a way, when I see those lost, I do that snubbing-the-snobs for their sake too.
While I still can.





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