—From the Fool—
Luann gave up on me. She was going to marry me if I could get some money, but the jobs I tried didn’t make it to the upper digits. Finally she said I was doing it all wrong trying to get rich by earning it. I should have planned ahead and got born that way.
I made a last try. My sister said there was big bucks in acupuncture, but the first time I tried it the lady said “Ouch!” You had to have the knack. I tried walking dogs, but I got one that wouldn’t ever poop till it got back home, so what was the point of the walk? And I answered an ad for a CEO of an import/export firm, big salary, but the previous CEO was making ten cents an hour in a prison laundry, so it didn’t promise much future.
So Luann moved on to greener pastures. She found a guy that sold vintage baseball cards. So now she only works on weekends, and phone sex she’s able to do while she’s watching TV. It’s a land of opportunity.
Well, we’re back home after a performing trek to Portland, Western Oregon University, and Vashon Island (cuddled up to Seattle). We did well, were appreciated by a varied range of folks, and were embraced by loving people who housed us and fed us.
There was only one dazzled fuddled day of stunned discomfort between the end of the election and our pre-dawn departure, and on the road our access to on-line news and social media was limited. So now we begin the slow and painful process of understanding that yes, Virginia, that DID really happen, and what comes next?
There is a very handsome young possum who sometimes comes to our cat-food bowl late at night to see what might be left, and I would be pleased and relieved to find that he had been appointed to a cabinet post. The alternatives seem to be less friendly to the world in which we aspire to live.
Rage and grief are duking it out in my core, and my skill at dissociation, learned in the awful days of my abused childhood, is something I don’t welcome, but I hear it scratching at the door.
So let’s hear it for Thanksgiving. We have two beautiful offspring who are healthy high-functioning adults, well-mated by loving partners. We live on half an acre of fertile land in one of the most grounded and connected communities I have ever had the pleasure to experience.
Conrad and I continue to love each other, and the skill of manifesting that fact gets funkier and more well-perfumed every year. Our mad brains continue to burble with new work on a regular basis, and I will have a new solo show within the next twelve-month.
I look forward to learning the functional paths of protest and activism, joining with my friends and neighbors, and bracing against the whacks and shocks that will come.
Up until today we’ve held a Thermopylae resistance to smart-phones. Not that we’re anti-digital: we have more computers, laptops, iPod/Pads, than any couple in their mid-seventies should decently have. But the proliferation of communications media seems to bear an inverse relationship to the actual amount of communication happening.
Back in ancient days, there were two modes of long-distance contact besides yelling from the back porch: your mailbox and your phone. We’ve still got those, plus (1) a machine for voice mail, (2) our regular email, (3) a cell phone with its own number and with voice mail, (4) Facebook messaging, (5) Gmail. Even with retiring the cell phone, adding two new crap-catchers (a.k.a. smart-phones) to the ensemble gives us pause.
The deciding factor was driving on the recent tour. Somehow we’ve done hundreds of thousands of miles, thousands of tour performances for 40+ years without the blessings of GPS. But it’s either our aging eyes or the obstructionist Republicans who made this trip a perpetual nightmare of wrong turns and where-the-hell-are-we’s. The shows were great, and our hosts, but if you’re driving at night and looking for a left on 13th Street and you haven’t been able to read a street sign for twenty blocks, you have a problem.
And so we finally decided to bite the bullet, and having bit once, are biting twice. Which requires an extended strategy session on how we check for messages over these multiple platforms, how we log calls and keep up the calendar, how we deal with—
My memory goes back to when I was five or six, staying with my grandparents. To make a call, they cranked the handle on the box on the wall by the door, told the operator who they wanted, then yelled into the phone like they were calling hogs. If their box rang three times, it was their call on the party line and they picked it up. If it rang twice, they’d pick it up to listen in to the neighbors.
When we moved to town and my mom got a black phone that sat on the table with a receiver in a cradle and a ten-digit dial, we were soon to be in the Space Age. That didn’t solve the terror of my adolescent self picking up that damned receiver to call a girl for a date, so I might have known at that point that the riddle of human communication would never be solved.
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© Bishop & Fuller 2016