Every time I return to this place (Jackson, Michigan) I am reminded of the years I felt so trapped here. The isolated moments of bliss buried under the days of nothing to do and no where to go.
Even now, years after my escape, I return here for holidays and find the same little city and wonder about those that live here. I wonder what they feel and how they perceive this place.
I wish I had someone to talk to or something to do here in the dark cold rain of Michigan winter. But where do I go and what do I do? Is there anybody here that is interesting? Is there anyplace here I have not haunted a thousand times?
The months surrounding Christmas often lead me to wonder at the guilt we associate subconsciously with the act of giving and receiving. We are trained to feel guilty if we do not give enough, and if what we give is not equal to that which we receive from the same person.
As the days get shorter the mind of the consumer culture is swept up in this guilt. The need to buy things, to spend money, grows more extensive every day closer to the 25th of December. Soon the day comes and gifts are given and in our afterparty exhaustion we spend the rest of the dark winter feeling the guilt of having spent to expansively in our giving. Of having given more than we had to give to feed the consumer culture in which we swim.
Today I thought I was going to write about the way in which life takes a shape that seems to require that every time something positive is happening in one part of my life then another part has to fall to shit.
But instead a random conversation led to my thinking about the way women have been shaped by the culture of greed over the past 2000 years. Why do women (and to the same extent men) desire the things that the media tells them to desire? How is it that completely counter-natural habits have formed in our society (make-up, shaving, circumcision, smoking) that we find pleasurable and want to have?
When you look at the discomfort and time consumption that most of these habits require, it seems ridiculous that we are moving in that direction as a society. Why? Can the thing we want be the end of ourselves? Do we require death in the same way that we require sex (or the spreading of life)?
What drive is there that intelligent people can be so easily convinced that something is good simply because every one wants it (or so you are told)?
When do our habits stop being something that we have and become something that has us?
As I wander the night in this city I see familiar faces all around me. I often wonder about the interconnectedness of humanity. Of how, as we more closely speak and act, as we can so simply reach out and ask each other who they are and what they are doing, our thoughts begin to run in tandem.
The world of online existence is becomming a map of where we go and who we know. The mind continually reaches out in search of connection. Possibly in the hopes of finding some specifc thing in our lives, but more potentially in order that we may experience more of what the world offers through the eyes of others who have been there and done that.
Humanity, even in its bleakest and most anti-social mode, seeks companionship. It seeks the knowledge that others exist, live, and face the same (or harsher) realities that we face every day.
When the head is soft on the pillow of the night and our dreams melt us away from the input of our existence, we all feel the need for each other.
Somehow I spend about half of my life waiting for things to happen. It could be a person I am waiting for, an event to happen, some business transaction to go through – but much of my time is spent in the hold cycle.
Why is it that in order to get things done we must all wait for our turn? How is it decided in life that events must take place in a specific fashion and not deter from the path of time?
The longest moments of our lives are those we spend waiting, for news to come of someone sick, for events to unfold. Never are those moments as swift as those when we are doing something. Only when we are directly involved do the minutes move by with speed.
When the waiting stops and the number we hold in our hand is called the game is over.
Why does the cold scare us so, even when the heat could bake us and give us cancer? We shiver inside during the long winter months and wait out the cold and the dark like animals in their burrows. Too slow in the frigid temperatures to even respond to the basic needs of life.
When did man decide to come to these places of coldness to build their civilizations? Why not exist in the humid warmth of the equatorial belt and shun the cold, dark climes?
But coldness breeds determination, and from the places built on cold earth comes the aggression of the west. Its mind is slowed, but under its thickness lies warmth and the desire to survive.
And then in the night the world was erased, a sheet of white across the top of everything, hiding the features of the earth from the gods that lurk beyond the sky.
When I woke this morning the world was covered in the blankness of snow. The soft features of trees, cars and houses all buried under a blanket of gentle wet. Still undisturbed by the passage of man, and falling freshly from the sky, the snow reminds us of the dirt we track across the world.
As the day woke up and people started to filter out into their lives the white shifted from pure to grey, melting obscenely into slush and soaking the passersby in an attempt to return the earth to it’s cold slumber.