Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Weekend Waste

I picked up both my sons from university during the weekend, travelling 2 hours after work on Friday evening and nearly 4 hours the next day to and from the colleges, journeying in the evening and through heavy rain the next day, passing traffic accidents along the way. This disrupted my normal weekend schedule but I was able to rush through the needed movies and read the necessary magazines to complete my weekly quota of study that I bring myself to do every weekend. Nevertheless it was a waste, a study in scheduled procrastination, not undertaking what I really wanted to do: to write my book and explore the internet for other opportunities to earn money. Instead I allowed myself to indulge in episodes of abuse and trivialities, listening to music, drinking cocktails and not focusing on seriousness until my friend called on Saturday evening to tell me that his medical insurance was denied, shocking me back into what is truly important, faced with the possibility of real loss and despair, but not surprised as the tragedy unfolds like a slow motion scene where everyone knows the outcome, with people afraid to act boldly to help.

The actor Peter O’ Toole died in the weekend, an inspiring artist who portrayed the reckless flair of a gifted aristocrat or outsider, exuberant and indulgent in his vices, som
eone who strove forward fearlessly, with intuitive grace and self-destructive urges willing to challenge the order of things. These character traits he portrayed gave inspiration to my youth, to live without fear and enjoy life in the belief that one’s intuitive intelligence and coolness will save the day, often with daring and verve, indulging in drink and foolishness while achieving the goal at the last minute. But it was a dream that never came to be, accused that he had unfulfilled his promise, a lost child still in his dreams like Lord Jim in Joseph Conrad’s tale, looking for redemption in his last hours, like Walter Mitty trying to make a last stand in middle age.  At least I contributed in the housework; cooking breakfast of ham omelet, bacon, sausage and eggs and dinner of minced meat with potatoes and carrots. Still it was a waste to keep borrowing movies, focused on a leisure life of consumption, devouring media in the hopes of being smarter; but working on a task is enough compensation, true salvation even if achieved in ignorance of current or cultural events.

Perhaps one is too serious when one should be light; to be more like a mercurial Peter O’Toole than the more serious and brooding Richard Burton; ‘to just be’ what one wants to be following EST. It is being ‘light’, throwing away heavy baggage: to follow social conventions, to have a degree or diploma,  to have necessary experience, instead of being confident that one has what it takes to succeed. In times of emergency, it does come out: to travel across the state and work with hospital authorities, to easily assume a new role, to make decisions and write appropriate emails, to invest in new areas without fear. The fact one has done so makes one think one is travelling too fast already, trying to break the sound barrier when one already arrived in a state of grace, driven by experience and readings one already has; ‘book’ learning is no longer needed but ‘just be’. The secret lies in front of you, no need to travel to ancient lands, to read multiple books, to keep exploring when the journey is done. There are no more secrets, the destination is reached but one is too busy to notice. It is time to relax and have fun, to be light and be in grace, achieving a sort of mystical equilibrium with the world.

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