Thursday, August 25, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about what Karl recently said. It wasn't written to me, or so I assume, but it's the type of thing I heard. A girl I liked for the wrong reasons told me that, or rather lectured me on it, as we walked the streets of Budapest alone, two Americans looking for a bar that felt comfortable. (That's a sentence with elements so overwrought that I hope you'll recognize it to be true.)

It stung then and it shut me up for a decent while. I've found myself fluctuating between silence and near-word-salad levels of verbosity. I don't say I'm eloquent, just as I don't say I'm strong. I'm capable of both poetry and strength, but I never guarantee them.

Anyway, the reason I write now is to express that I find my view narrowing. It unsettles me for one reason and one reason only--for it is comfortable. I leave before dawn, get home a little before dusk. Tend to my children. Put them to sleep. Cultivate intoxication. Sleep early. Get back to it. And I'm lucky. Very, very lucky. It's good work, shit I believe in. I like my co-workers. My bosses are the right mix of hands-off and "let me actually show you the shit I'm going to expect." It's the type of job I leave behind very easily. I come home and I feel clean, except for the actual, real, material filth. I ditch my clothes, wash my forearms, dress again, and I feel newborn. I sleep like a baby.

I'm waiting for the dissonance. I'm waiting for the maladaptation and the righteous indignation both, since my relationship with the world is both symptom of my virtue and my deep sickness. But it's not hitting me yet. Maybe the movement to a night shift will change that. I took on the job because I knew I'd work with people who were suffering.

But in the meantime, I feel so little. My mind has quieted. I feel drugged, and maybe I am, drugged on the return to lower-middle class, drugged on the promise of standing on my own for a little bit... Maybe I know why Hillary Clintons exist, because there is a deep part of me that wants to rush the technocracy. I watched my children, I depended on my spouse, I was devalued by the women and men who interacted with me. Mothers could not see me as providing some essentially feminine something to my children. Fathers could not see me as anything other than kept or lazy or submissive or scamming or faggy or something. Fuck them all, I want to say. Fuck every single one of you. I'll use the way I look and the court language I speak fluently and denied for so many years and I'll nestle up deeply to the side of the beast and I'll out-earn you all if I have the chance!

And yet I know how pathetic it is, for those of us who escaped or are descended from those who escaped from the working class. I've got it on both sides in a few countries. I'm made of emigres and exiles. And the thing is that I can't run too far into this mess because the power others had to make me feel pain isn't real power. It isn't war power. It isn't industrial power. It's the soft, brutal, social power, sure. But fuck. I'll actually let myself feel pity for some people rather than hate.

I don't know how much of this makes sense. What motivated my writing is reading so much brilliant prose regarding Libya and our state's continued abuses here and everywhere else. I've been in a bubble for a few weeks. All I've got to deconstruct is myself. I'm back inside the machine, and what people don't realize, what so many who "bought in" and tried to change things from the inside fail to understand, is that you're essentially blind. It is confusing and a little scary and the rope that is offered is a social one backed by economic power. You make friends or you don't. You accept new norms or you don't. You get indoctrinated, socialized, educated, whatever you want to call it 'cause it's all the same. Somehow I forgot what this was like.


  1. Mothers could not see me as providing some essentially feminine something to my children. Fathers could not see me as anything other than kept or lazy or submissive or scamming or faggy or something.


  2. It wasn't written to you, Cuneyt -- nor with your writing style in mind. It was written because I'd just spent some time reading a few MTB related forums where people were talking about "taking delivery of" a new bike. Then I got to thinking about other super-puffery I've heard in my life. My brother is really keen on saying "purchase" instead of "buy," and sometimes I'll rib him about it. I explained in the thread the point behind "methodology" and the "meteorologist" bit is an outgrowth of that one because most of the air chemistry modelers had a background in "meteorology" and I liked to ask them which meteors they studied and described.

    I don't like florid prose much, though people who are good at writing it impress me. I tend to cut through things like a machete-wielding rainforest guide. It's how I learned my legal writing and that's where I've done the greatest bulk of my writing, before spending time doing brief and hasty entries on my various blogs I've had.

    Litigation lawyers learn to get to the point because judges, jurors, and witnesses being deposed... they all hate the ramble, the indirection, the clouding-up, the murk. You can't do your best work when your audience is losing interest and perhaps even falling asleep.

    This isn't to say all litigators are concise. Some of them use bafflement as a key tactic when they are behind the 8-ball, factually or legally. You've probably heard the old saw:

    "If the facts are with you, stress the facts. If the law is with you, hammer the law. If neither is with you, pound the table."

    Lots of table-pounding happens in the white-shoe litigation world, where time spent rambling is time billed, and confusing the jury or judge is a standard tactic because the subject matter is already boring.

    Long way around... wasn't pointing at you or anyone in blogtopia.

  3. I haven't the time yet to fully digest this post, but it makes me wish I knew you in person. Whilst I continue cultivating intoxication, and feeding my family (I'm the cook around here) I'll meditate on your post and hopefully have something more to contribute anon.

    ...symptom of my virtue and my deep sickness

    I'll just leave it at that.

  4. Really enjoy your perspective, Cüneyt. It's not quite like anything else I read.

  5. Thanks for explaining, Karl. As I said, I had assumed as such, but nevertheless, what one party says about another can always wake up something in a third party. It resonated with me, even though I know you weren't addressing me.

    Abonilox, thank you as always for your reading and your kind words. This medium is of course a poor substitute for live interaction, but I am thankful that I am able to communicate with so many minds over such distances.

    Mr. Boyd, thank you. It is a real pleasure to offer something to those whom I have read for so long.