We were invited to a Superbowl weekend party by a friend of Margaret's at work. Last year we went and I wandered around this guy's house trying to enter into a conversation with somebody. Naturally, I didn't know anyone there and they had no idea who I was. I could have been from down the street and just wandered in. But we tried to connect.
"Hi, I'm so-and-so. You're...?"
"Hi, I'm William, Margaret's husband. Margaret works with Name"
"Oh. So, what do you do?"
"I'm sort of retired. Disabled. Got a bad back condition. So I'm a house husband, but I'm also an artist."
"Oh. Yeah I gotta bad back. I take Tylenol."
" I take a lot of things for pain. Makes me sleepy and clumsy."
"But in good weather I sculpt."
"Yeah, hey Sue pass some of those chips over. What's the score?"
"Oh geez, go, go,go!! OH I can't believe he dropped the ball!"
"Hey, don't hog the dip!"
Then I wander into the next room with similar results. I watch the little kids play outside. I straighten the pictures in the hallway. I take more pills and pop my back a few times. I glance at the football game with no idea how to play football or what are the names of the teams or the cities they come from. I eat some pasta salad and some barbecue chicken. I take a walk around the block. Eventually we go home. I am so relieved to pull up into the driveway. While Margaret goes inside I check the chickens and sit awhile by the bonfire pit sipping my Fosters. The wind through the pines makes it sound like ocean waves if I close my eyes.
This year we took a pass on the party and instead we're going to another friend's house out in the country where we will talk about chickens, gardens, how the work around the farm is doing and other related stuff. The hostess is into religion so I can chat about my readings. Her husband is a cop, so we can talk about interesting things he's been doing. When my back starts to spasm I'll go find a corner in that big old house and drop to the floor and do back stretches, take some pills and sip on a Fosters.
I'm in a cocoon, not really paying attention to typical society. I'm waiting for seasons and changes. I want my country back. I want my son back. I'm greedy for conversations about Life, the Universe and Everything. What makes a mind a mind? Where does thought come from? Why do so many Presidents send out soldiers to kill and maim while maintaining their Christian credentials? Why do so many Americans know so little about the rest of the world? Why are they so proud of their ignorance? Why do we teach football in high school, but not ethics or logic? Why do so many Americans support new atomic bombs costing billions but not free laptops for every child costing similar billions? Why do Americans not know their own history? Why do most American blacks believe themselves to be descended from slaves without actually researching their family tree?
I'd like to be able to go to a party and meet average Americans and have something to say that was interesting to them. I'd like to be interested in football and baseball, but somehow watching millionaires pumped up with chemicals play a kid's game just leaves me cold. I'd like to watch network TV and be able to follow a show like Lost or Sex in the City without feeling pandered to. I'd like to talk about my son without sounding like I'm lecturing. I'd like to talk to someone about my son without having to hear about how sometimes it's better to "pull the plug". Jon has no "off" button. I'd like to slowly ascend to about treetop level, then rotate to a horizontal position and then with dips and swoops build up speed until I was soaring above the woods and mountains, higher and higher until the roads are thin lines and the cities are patterns in the dirt. I'd like to fly so high that the air burned my throat with the cold and my bones ached, then swoop down over an ocean and follow whales for a thousand miles. I'd like to sleep on a cloud near Nepal and listen to the tectonic plates moan and groan like whales of earth and stone. I'd like to wake up someday and find that nobody could think of a single bad thing to say about anybody else in the world. I'd like to have a single wish from a spirit in a bottle so I could ask for perfect health and sanity for all the people watching football games, reading books about chickens, emerging from a coma or suddenly finding themselves cancer free. I'd like to sit out by the bonfire pit and listen to the sounds of a world no longer angry, competitive or ignorant. It would sound like waves on the shore, like whales beneath the earth, like children laughing.