Society is full of people who are incredibly adept at the blind art of assuming that other individuals share their wants and expectations. How weird (and incredibly egotistic) is that? And how can anyone survive each day while plagued by such belief? Just thinking about being trapped in a world of carbon copied, creativity barren and stagnant personalities makes me want to scream! And perhaps, puke in colors and textures no one has ever seen before.
The paragraph above summarizes a couple of exchanges I had during the last few days.
Last Saturday, I spent a considerable amount of time on the phone talking to a person I used to work with. We hadn’t spoken to each other since 2008, so I guess he felt the need to ask the usual catching up questions: “Why aren’t you married? Did you see how fat [so and so] got after she left the Navy? The same doesn’t apply to Marines, huh? How many children do you have?”
“I don’t have any kids,” I said, “and I don’t plan on birthing any.” I ignored the rest of the questions because what I wanted to say to him added nothing of value to an already worthless conversation.
“You can tell me, G,” he said. “Psychiatrist here, remember? I know a woman’s clock ticks, eventually. It’s easier to deal with that empty feeling, if you admit it exists.”
“Wow,” I told him, wishing he could see my eye-roll through the phone. “I think you’ve just given me enough evidence to prove a working theory. Yeah, you have indeed; assholism seems to be a chronic disease that rots the brain’s ability to think critically. It seems to infect all educational levels… Taking something for that, Doc?”
We both laughed, but I’m pretty sure that I was the only one having fun at the moment.
Then, yesterday, I was sharing the details of that conversation with a writer friend. She agreed with my assholism diagnosis, and added “male dumb-fuckiness” as the cause of the problem.
“Oh please,” I said, “are you really blaming close-mindedness on a Y chromosome? That’s ridiculous. That kind of stuff doesn’t discriminate. Have you—”
She cut me off, and said, “Let’s agree to disagree?”
“Let’s,” I said.
We talked about her work in literary criticism and about my fiction writing. Then we argued about reading…
“It’s wonderful that you read so much,” she said, “but I’d think you’d choose works that brought something of substance to your writer’s toolbox. The Stand? Really?”
“Regardless of how much you dislike his work,” I said, “even you know that the King rocks.”
“Are you laughing at me?” she said.
“Of course not,” I said, laughing. She hates Stephen King’s work, and I love to tease her.
“The Stand’s motifs are over-simplistic. Society is beyond that. Dated, the entire thing is—”
“Calm down, Baroness Alexandra Pope,” I said. “Before you start reciting your Essay on Woman, let me read this quote from the expanded edition of The Stand—”
“There is an expanded edition!”
“Shhh,” I said, muffling giggles. She’s a worthy adversary, so I do love to put her on edge. “I’m going to read a passage. And I suggest you keep in mind the words men AND women have said about birth control and religion, these last couple of years:
“Her six boys had produced a crop of thirty-two grandchildren for her. Her thirty-two grandchildren had produced ninety-one great-grandchildren that she knew of, and at the time of the superflu, she had had three great-great-grandchildren. Would have had more, if not for the pills the girls took these days to keep the babies away. It seemed like for them, being sexy was just another playground to be in. [She] felt sorry for them in their modern ways, but she never spoke of it. It was up to God to judge whether or not they were sinning by taking those pills (and not to that baldheaded old fart in Rome—[she] had been a Methodist all her life, and she was damned proud of not having any truck with those mackerel-snapping Catholics), but [she] knew what they were missing; the ecstasy which comes when you stand on the lip of the Valley of the Shadow, the ecstasy that comes when you gave yourself up to your man and your God, when you say thy will be done and Thy will be done; the final ecstasy of sex in the sight of the Lord, when a man and a woman relive the old sin of Adam and Eve, only now washed and sanctified in the Blood of the Lamb.”
“Now,” I said, “tell me, in good conscience, that Stephen King’s writing ‘motifs are over-simplistic’ and that our world has moved ‘beyond’ the horrors described in The Stand.”
By the way, this lady really creeps me out...