Living in the Wrong Era

27Oct08

I just realized what the problem is.  Of course.  I’m living in the wrong era.

It’s no surprise that I wouldn’t recognize the problem right off.  It’s one of those weird kinds of problems, like a time travel movie where you made decision X rather than Y and now everything is different, and nobody knows how it might have been.  Or maybe it’s like having bad eyesight, and not realizing it, and when you look at your face in the mirror it looks normal – but when somebody puts reading glasses on your nose, suddenly – whoa! – there’s this whole reality that you had almost forgotten.  But now, for the first time in years, it’s staring you right in the face.

The era where I *thought* I was, well, that’s America in 2008, seen in one way; and the era where I actually *am* is sort of like that.  It’s America in 2008, but after having had that one key experience.  There’s this turning-point kind of experience, like putting those reading glasses on your nose, or like eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the Garden of Eden.  In an instant, everything changes, and you can never go back.

Except that you sort of can; and what’s more, you have to.  You remember that Garden of Eden experience, and you think about it for years to come.  The Bible says Adam lived 930 years, and apparently most of that was after his big screwup.  This is a seriously long time to live with regrets, and you know what happens, anyway, when people live with regrets.  Day after he bit that apple, he was saying to himself, Damn, that was stupid, but the apple sure tasted good.  Day after that, he was saying, You know, God kind of overreacted there.  Give it another week, and Adam is saying there’s got to be another way.  Small wonder that Cain was so f*cked up.  By the time he came of age, his dad had built up enormous repressed anxieties that he may well have redirected into domestic psychological abuse.  And Eve is, like, omigod, it has been 700 years since we had good sex.

Point being, you have put those glasses on your nose; you see everything different; you will never forget; and then you do pretty much forget and go back to your old ways, as soon as you lose those foolish glasses.  So I see America of 2008 in a very different way, because I have had that one eye-opening experience – but, to tell the truth, I’ve had a boatload of eye-opening experiences of America of 2008 – and before that, it was America of 2007, and America of 2006, and . . . Like, if someone whacks you over the head once, it really hurts; but if they do it every day, it’s more of an irritation and something to be avoided if you can, which in this case I can’t.

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