01 October 2006

The Day After the Day After

Today Cold City basked in what is most likely our last bout of warm days before the onset of true fall, which here is really better considered early winter. Feeling restless and unwell chez moi, I actually got it together to go for a promenade in a nearby park, if being pushed aside by 50-quelquechose power walkers in perky outfits and shirtless roller bladers counts as a paseo. I went to the favourite park of La Nena, not my own, and remembered quickly as to why this was not my usual locale for outdoor exercise. There were so many six packs I thought I was at a tailgate! It was disgusting. Don’t these people have something better to do than worshipping at the altar of their plastic “healthy” bodies? Read Lolita, make love, bake a soufflĂ©, bathe a child, wax the floors, stare into the air, foment revolution, plot conspiracies, adopt new radical names (Tania, I've read, is currently available)— anything but the flaccid narcissism that passes as attractive and wholesome in our very, very sick culture.

Instead, the armies of the perpetually Yuppie (of all ages) walked and ran and bladed and rode around the park, under a warm sun and clear sky and the large jets gliding down to Cold City intergalactic aerodrome. Aside from automatically feeling like a frump, I cursed myself, for in fact the crowds were to be anticipated, although I didn’t realise that necessarily as I dressed for my walk: very now Banana Republic corduroy pants with a slight flare in “stone,” Keen brown clogs, but horribly matched with a blah red t-shirt from Target, untucked. Oh the shame! Partially fashionably trendy and partially a slob. I know! I wasn’t thinking! I had in my mind elder care, Soccer moms and overweight couples walking hand in hand. But at the last moment I decided to take La Nena’s route and paid the price. This particular park will only be safe when it is so cold that everyone looks like the Michelin man.

On the weekend after habeas corpus fell, with the Republic on the brink of an abyss, with Congress and the Executive and the Judiciary in the hands of zealots and incompetents (and even worse, zealous incompetents), when true American values have receded in the face of panic and a desultory acceptance of the political status quo, when years from now, if indeed we survive, people ask what one was doing during that fated time, I can say I went for a walk in the park. This seems, more than anything else, a parable of the times, a koan for our current American age with disquieting answers about who we are as a people and where we are headed.


Professor Zero said...

Mo l'aime to post. Mo pas conne pouquoi
mo te ole ecrire commentaire-la en kreyol.

I like your post. I do not know why I wanted to write my comment in Creole.

Actually, I do. So that Homeland Security catches it less quickly.

In the spirit of equity or something, I have two, count 'em, two sections of Spanish 4 this semester. They are seeing La historia oficial, on a syllabus not made by me. So we get to talk about the habeas corpus/torture
issue in class, without Students for Academic Freedom being able to say I am getting off topic.

What they say is fascinating. They are amazed to meet someone (me) who still at some level believes in Enlightenment or revolutionary ideals, and who appears to remember a time when many other people also did.

This gave, and still is giving me, pause.

GayProf said...

anything but the flaccid narcissism that passes as attractive and wholesome in our very, very sick culture.


Viridiana said...

your writing is superb but your linking is just brilliant. I enjoy these more personal pieces, O.R.

Malinchista said...

Amazing, this so-called "fall" or "failure" of the republic, no? I can hear la Butler yelling into the night, "it's the pinche patriarchy....let it fall..." What is so amazing is how everyone is amazed, no? Give patriarchs a chance at youngish boys, and because they now have to think about various parts of their anatomy being chopped off by women with knives, guns, or t-kon-do movidas, they turn to the pages, naturally; it's a story as old as humankind, but the hypocrisy that now they must report on one another, whistleblow, well, it just leaves me reeling --- stay tuned for who will resign, who will claim "not to have known..." The Bush Administration is exposed for the liars and cheats that they are, from Rice to Kissinger to De Lay, a merry-go-round. And now, Americans are left to question who is in charge of family values. The wolf is in the chicken coop, and perhaps someday, the patriarchy will stop being so damned smug about itself; well, if and when Americans tire of this stupidity, lowest common denominator. I'm mad that a white man and his idiotic lawyer can stand up exactly 48 hours into sobriety and proclaim anything. What kind of clinic is that? The guy's still full of alchohol. Okay, I'm off to a 12 step program or I'm likely to go running into the streets singing "hallelujah....at last they are found out...." Were it not for the fact that it matters not at all, they will surely keep molesting and act scandalized by it all....it's really time for women to take charge, at least Democratic women who are not Feinstein or Boxer types (remember where they stand on "controling our borders???!!")...what a circus!

Sfrajett said...

You capture the combined melancholy of the fall season and the fall of the Republic really well. I felt your mood exactly. Sometimes it is oddly comforting when other people are feeling blue about the state of the Constitution right alongside of each other. And disgusted.