Thursday, October 15, 2009

They all come down...

The leaves that is... and other things, but the leaves... if you live in New York City, they just go straight from green to brown and come down. You wake up one morning and it's cold. Then if you're lucky you wake up one cold morning a couple weeks later and the radiators are pissing, and the leaves are coming down and you decide maybe you should draw the curtains, not because it's cold but because your neighbors can see in once the leaves are gone. Or not. Some people never draw their curtains. That's annoying and I don't know if it's because I really don't want to see them or that I can't help but look in. This is a town of and for and by voyeurs. It's funny (not haha funny alway) that a city full of people so enrapt with their own reflections (myself included) that there is always time to peek in a few windows.

A thought on reflection: If you really want to grow weary of looking at yourself, write a memoir. You run the process first; you start at narcissism and run through fascination, discovery, revelation, mortification, Sartre-esque revulsion, weariness and finally on to stultifying tedium.

"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire."

Is hell other people? Try looking too closely at yourself for too long and see whom you think hell is or isn't Perhaps those unshaded windows are there for a damn good reason. If you see a person on the street with the thousand yard stare, who is most certainly too young to be a Viet Nam vet, there's a good chance they've written a memoir. They've just seen too much. If you recognize it in yourself, break the gaze with the image in the mirror and get out there and start looking into other peoples' windows. Those windows are God's gift to battle-weary narcissists, navel-gazers, and assorted misfits of introspective natures.

I'm not recommending you desist entirely from self-examination. Just balance it, or most assuredly you will fuck yourself up big time.

It's easy, neighbors' open curtains notwithstanding, to fall into long spells laser sharp self-examination, self-dissection and emotional seppaku in the fall. You're more apt to find yourself alone and inside, or alone and outside and in the dark, for that matter. The season lends itself to solitude, and all the gin mills, facebook pages and cell phones can't stave off the eventual moment when you find yourself at home alone thinking. I can offer no advice for those moments, except that if you are not relatively certain of what you'll find, don't mine your past and write a memoir. Or maybe just do it a bit at a time, a child with a soup spoon digging to China, rather than the gargantuan hedgehog tunnel blaster. Take it slowly, or you may find yourself in a spot you are ill equipped to deal with.

My own memoir... I shelved it, not so much out of horror, but because I found what I needed to find, or at least enough. I've moved from the role of miner forty-niner to archivist or librarian, tagging and sorting and stowing it all away in it's proper order, where I can pull it up on demand. It's still rather chaotic at the moment but we're getting there.

There were others to consider also. The greenery turned brown and fallen, it didn't seem my place to decide whether or not their curtains were drawn or open.

But with that, the radiators are pissing, the coffee on and the forecast is dire. I've got things to do.