Wednesday, October 25, 2017

invisible weeping

One of the aspects of old age -- and I stress for the comprehendingly-challenged, ONE -- is that what was once a background aspect of personality no longer has a contrasting foreground against which to place itself. If a background has no foreground, it becomes, perforce, foreground of its own.

And so, since I no longer use eight hours a day at some socially-designated job, there are background habits and assumptions that have more breathing room. It's as if everyone EXCEPT the drunk at the bar had gone home.

For example, I didn't really realize that I had a mental tableau of sorts that boiled down to "my country and the assumptions I make about it without thinking." In the past, when the working male worked and interacted and went to bed in order to get up and go back to work, my country was there in the background. Now it no longer is background and I am forced to see that I care about my country.

Another example is more longstanding. I grew up in a time when "boys don't cry" and I didn't much. Now there is time and room and I find myself seeming to make up for lost time -- weeping within about a country (among other things) I am growing increasingly invisible to.

And that's another aspect. Invisibling. Growing invisibler and invisibler because I am not in the flow any longer. Also, be it said, I haven't got the energy to do all those well-intentioned and somehow insulting exercises suggested by younger people who want to 'care' about those growing invisibler. No, I don't collect stamps, volunteer, travel extensively or have grandkids on whom to lavish attention. And there is a crankiness as well: Take your treacly empathy or ranging bits of what looks like wisdom to you and stuff it!

OK -- the background (my country, eg.) becomes foreground.
Among tears saved from an earlier era.
And I am invisible-invisibler-invisiblest.

Against this somewhat winky backdrop, I realized yesterday that one habit I have not surrendered is the desire to sum up people and situations and create a brief -- sometimes one-word -- description that covers a wide terrain.

Specifically, President Donald Trumps loud-mouthed approach to ruling the country offers no stability -- no one-word tab I can use to nail him down and leave him in the read-view mirror. Or couldn't until recently when I realized I am satisfied more or less with the word "coward." Since everyone has a reservoir of cowardice about something and since cowardice has a poor rep, I felt nervous about applying the word. Now I am no longer nervous. There is time and space and foreground.

And in this foreground there is something within that is simultaneously weeping like a baby and infuriated as a Donald Trump voter that my country is ruled by a "coward" -- a man who lies and camouflages and takes no responsibility and hangs others out to dry when the shit hits the fan. A coward hurts others and has nothing positive he is willing to stand behind.  He is small and vile and, in the end, stupid.

Yes, I have my arenas of cowardice. And surely Congress has its cowards if the United States' longest war is allowed to move forward in Afghanistan without a congressional declaration. And I imagine my friends and neighbors have their reservoirs of cowardice. But there are counterpoints that flare up. They may not be precisely "courageous," but at least they are not so unremittingly craven and self-absorbed.

Imagine what it might be like if all that analysts grinding out a daily guessing game of what Donald Trump "meant" if they simply stopped and waited to see what actually occurred on the basis of the Coward in Chief's latest chorus. My country is ill-served and diminished and, yes, I cry.

What is weeping (outside the fact that every mother's son seems to have taken lessons if TV news is any guide) if not an expression of knowing that something that "ought" to change cannot be changed? There is no un-cowarding a coward and my country is ruled by a coward... and, of late, I weep.

But I am invisible and perhaps it is my own wraith-like wispiness that I am weeping for. I don't care what may cause these saline outbursts. I am interested that once upon a time boys didn't cry, but now there is time and foreground and motive ... and who could possibly know?

Donald Trump is a coward.
My country is ruled by a coward.
I dislike cowardice as a guiding principle.
Bring on the tears.

And to those who say, "you can do something," I invite you to go out and do it.


  1. I resonate with your overall sentiment.

    I think that you are “doing” more than most politically in blogging about Trump at least weekly for quite a while if I’m not mistaken. Thus, by the way, you are not disappearing so much as say the average person never even becomes even slightly visible.

    As for reaching out beyond your blog, perhaps over the years you already did a lifetime’s worth — being with friends and family, chatting with colleagues and relative strangers, and as a writer and editor. I know people such as teachers who may have potentially touched more individuals and back room workers who were only children and single who touched many fewer lives yet neither strike me as better or worse off. Who can say where the bar should be much less if it was reached.

    Anyway I appreciate your senior reflections. As far as I can tell they are age appropraiste if nothing else.