June 5th, 2002

The gentleman is always properly dressed

I don’t get angry at the bills I have to pay.

There’s a strange comfort that comes from being able to send money off to your creditors on demand. A walk to the mailbox with fistful of envelopes showing pre-printed addresses and a deep knowing that all of the checks within will be honored is probably not the most profoundly life-affirming experience that you’re going to have. Still, there is a sense of power and control that inevitably comes from being able to send these pieces of paper off. It is an acknowledgement of your place in the world and of your efficacy in it. You can say, in effect, “I may be living hand to mouth, but I am making my way.”

I can see another perspective clearly, too. There has to be some sort of excitement at being able to juggle your creditors, giving them as little as possible for as long as possible, playing one off against another, skipping out leaving a faceless corporation holding an empty bag. Beating the system, if you will. Still, for all its disobedient allure, there’s something that’s empty about it, crazy-making even. As long as I can remember, I’ve been far more sane and far more calm when I don’t have to dodge creditors. It just seems better not to have to worry over the many schemes needed to keep this lifestyle afloat. It takes too much energy and effort. I also have notoriously bad luck, so a deliberate dodging will almost invariably backfire and just cause more problems.

Really, the periods in my life where I’ve fallen behind have not been because I’ve decided that it would be so, but because I’ve gotten so depressed that I can’t keep track of anything. I ended up with a snowballing effect where I was down and so missed payments; which led to late fees, buildup of revolving interest, and nasty calls; which made me more depressed; etc. Better just to avoid it altogether.
  • Current Music
    Sublime, “What I Got”
The gentleman is always properly dressed

Free form

CDs by Alison Krauss do not appear to be carried by the HMV at Downtown Crossing. They do have Gillian Welch, and for some reason they keep her in the Pop/Rock section.

I’ve been singing “Big Rock Candy Mountain” most of the day because of a brief reference to it in the introduction to Seamus Heany’s verse translation of Beowulf. It’s such a happy song for all of its suggestion of hardship. People keep looking at me funny.

The spork may well be the highest achievement of post-war Western capitalist civilization. I know it’s a stretch, but I’ve become increasingly skeptical of our “advances” since WWII.

I am hopelessly enamored of the past, but not because I think that any previous time period was inherently better. It has more to do with an idea that people were somehow stronger than they are now. For want of real tragedy, we are for the most part unprepared for the eventualities that we must face.

Well, there are none better save for perhaps the Paleolithic hunter/gatherer period. Our roots are as roaming pack mammals, but we have developed our civilization under a model that seems far closer to a cross between hive insects and tree sloths. I often think that a reset to our base origins might be warranted. Think of it as an extreme version of the necessity of revolution as discussed in The Federalist.

Speculation of this sort is ultimately useless, as all the nostalgia in the world will not change the fundamental paradigm under which people are content to live.

Unless, of course, the most catastrophic models of global warming come to pass.

Even still, one of the problems with science fiction that predicts our reversion to a more primitive state is that it fails to recognize that the remembrance of things as they were will serve as a siren’s song to the survivors, who they will work towards recreating the "lost" technology and societal models.

I do not, in fact, have a puppy, in spite of any of my protestations otherwise.