Monday, March 18, 2024

Festivities in a Sea of Change

The end of the Crap Festival here this year was highlighted by St. Paddy's Day celebrations.  I was on a text message group with people who were there.  It was crowded.  It was sweaty.  I didn't go.  I stayed home once again the entire day without leaving the house.  The festivities went on without me.  It's O.K. To stand in a crowded bar with a bunch of drunks held little appeal for me.  Not so all.  Some of the people were excitedly trying to get past the doorman to get inside.  

"Where are you?"

"We're inside."

"The doorman told me that he couldn't let me in, that they were at capacity."

"Come to the side door.  I'll let you in."

"I did.  There is a guard outside."

"Flash him 😎"


When pretty gymroid girls can't get in, you know it's crowded.  

Reports on the art party I missed on Saturday night said it was the "Who's Who" crowd.  If they say so.  I always go for the music.  I'm not so very good at chit-chat.  It always makes me nervous.  But, you know. . . it is always good to be seen.  

I was not. 

Rather, I spent much time reworking old images.  I have developed a different look and editing style which probably does not interest most people.  But I am intrigued.  I would spend an hour on a single image going through the steps in different order, looking, appraising, failing or succeeding, being happy or disappointed, and then moving on to another.  

What madness.  

Then, as nighttime fell and the texts grew quiet, I put on "American Fiction."  Oh boy, I was looking forward to this.  The trailer was good.  

It was better than the film.  

The film was good, but the trailer was rather misleading.  The movie turns the trailer on its head.  White people's version of what's Black sells.  Both White and Black cultures buy the stereotypes.  So what's a fellow going to do?  Sell out?  

To make the point, all White characters are goofy stereotypes to the nth degree.  Black characters are full and richly complicated.  Well-served.  

Maybe the trailer wasn't so far off now that I reflect on it.  It may have been the fabulist plot that, to some degree, I reacted.  I never much cared for the novels of Fowles, Gaddis, or Barthes.  

But they never spoke highly of my writing, either.  

My friend who moved to the midwest sent photos from Puerto Rico.  She stood in the exact same place that her parents stood on their honeymoon over fifty years ago.  

Incredible.  It's as if time stood still.  One wants that, I think, some bit of stability in the world, something one can expect, something to count on.  But it was deeply emotional for her as both of her parents are dead now.  She would have felt much differently, I am sure, if this had turned into a Margaritaville or a Tommy Bahamas.  It is why, if to some lesser degree, we like returning to National Parks and other preserved spaces.  My friend, Travis, loves visiting sites with pictographs and glyphs, I imagine, for much the same reason.  Things that last.  Things unchanged.  Something more enduring than the carnival marketplace in which we live.  

But change is inevitable as we add more people to the planet every day.  The world's population has increased from 2.5 billion to 8 billion people in my lifetime (link).  It is, in most ways, unthinkable.  But there you are.  There you have it.  I've lived through a period of change unlike anything in the earth's history.  "Future Shock," it was once called, but we've moved well beyond that.  And so we turn our hopes, it seems, to colonizing space, "the last frontier."  

So. . . let me bring this thing around.  Full loop.  Awkwardly. . . so be it.  That is why, perhaps, people love festivals.  They seem transcendent.  They are buoys in the sea of time, markers of historical significance where we can celebrate and recreate the past.  

"On St. Patrick's Day, I remember my grandfather would always make. . . .  Mine isn't as good, but. . . ."

I sure wish I could have gone to that party.  

No comments:

Post a Comment