Base Camp @ Donald Duck Manor
A vignette: I am sitting on a cooler, sloshed full of an inch’s worth of melted ice and neglected Hansen’s sodas, with a modern boombox-like machine finagling the finer sounds of “Bikeage” into the summer air, my chocolate-mouthed son nodding his head but far more interested in the growing lineage of ants erupting from a crack in the cement. ”This,” I say, “is the Descendents.”
Another vignette: I am walking through a door, pushing it open without asking, neglecting my teenage daughter’s exhaustively pleaded desire for privacy, only to find her lying on her bed, face buried in a book by Dickens–some sort of “school assignment”–and I snatch that thing out of her hands and say to her, “Here, read this, it is by your father, and you’re old enough to not chock it full of Crayola marginalia.”
Probable end result: Fraternity row, sorority meningitis, Creed calendars, Skechers, endless resentment at their “artsy-fartsy” father.
Future history: Are we only as important as other people think we are? How much life must we scrape into the world to leave upon it an indelible mark? How important are reusable shopping bags? If a man dies in the woods, how long before his family knows? Cares? What lies in the estuary between fact and fiction? Who decides truth? How different is memory from history? Is all time wasted time, in the end?
Human beings: It takes great energy to see the benefit in being so constantly reminded of just how pitiful our ragtag strand of DNA is. The key is being able to stare straight into the face of those human beings incapable of staring straight into themselves. Demure. Stick to the open road. Stay slippery enough to avoid permanent peril, if at all possible. Ingest the awe, recapitulate at a later date. Put on full display the sad dance we are all so heartily engaged in.
Day one: We (in whatever sense you’d like to define it) have begun, in earnest, to reconfigure life into an assemblage of wax-bound grooves. Base camp. With no sherpas. No mortgages. No children. The largest mountains afford the greatest views. Death should always be a possibility.