Did you notice that this post is incredibly late in my completely arbitrary, self-imposed schedule of once a week? Well, to make up for my tardiness I now present you with a pile of bullshit mixed with bulls, because I'm the sort of doggedly determined realist (or self-defeating storyteller, take your pick) who feels compelled to inform you where all the shit comes from. Additionally, I will provide you with some slightly less adulterated bullshit that has absolutely nothing to do with the place this post is ostensibly about, because I needed something to tack on to reach my equally arbitrary, self-imposed word count.
What am I doing? The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is not a cafe. There isn't even anywhere to sit except on a bench outside, where I am. I will soon run out of the tiny thing of espresso I got because they have no coffee of the vile, watery stuff I romance. The shop itself is a big nothing, anyway, so I will resort to the dizzying array of people going by. Dizzying because just as I begin thinking about one person, I am hypnotized by some other wandering group of tourists.
A group of self-congratulatory, smelly teenagers in a Subaru stops for another, similar, though more smelly and less moneyed group at the crosswalk. Perceiving the two group's bond of vague hippiedom, the driver of the Subaru yells out at them "there was a REVOLUTION last night, man!" This is all kinds of confusing. Is there something they heard about in the (indy) media that has them all uppity? Some development of which the fellow revolutionaries need to be appraised While some revolution takes place, crumbling the ground beneath our feet, we wander about buying chocolate, enjoying our Saturday like Rebecca Black enjoys Fridays, oblivious. This is an image that such self-styled revolutionaries both cherish and bemoan. In a circular logic, the public's obliviousness is proof of the existence and importance of the invisible struggle. It's happening because it doesn't appear to most of the population to be happening--only the few (of whom they are of course a part) know. But it is also a frustrating state of affairs. If only the masses could see as I do! If only they knew that things are changing, and were not blinded by hegemony! This is why life is exciting if you're the sort of revolutionary who yells out your window that the revolution is happening and that everyone needs to wake up (like that Rage Against The Machine song at the end of The Matrix, man): the mundane is always undercut with the extraordinary, or the potential for the extraordinary. You walk around seeing, you think, what nobody else can see. Secret knowledge animates everything you perceive, pulling it all into a dramatic overarching plot of international politics and class warfare. The best part is that nothing has to confirm this sense, because its negation confirms it. The more everyone else is oblivious, the more you are convinced by your righteous truth and you feel you are struggling against their ignorance.
I love the two women licking ice cream to my left cackling at just about everything. One is telling the other about this couple she is visiting here. In the evening she suggests playing cards, or doing something together. But Jill, who we will now call the woman of the couple, always says "no, let's have a drink and watch a movie." She parrots Jill's shrill voice and adds "that's all she ever wants to do, watch a movie." The man, who we will now call Joe, apparently has no stake in the matter, and does nothing but baby-talk with Jill. "Hey hamburger," Jill says when he comes home from work. "Hey french-fry," he responds. Between the movies and the baby talk, our bemused heroine flees from the doubtlessly impending "I love you, chicken strip" to the guest room to get some sleep. But she is kept up for at least an hour by the noise of the television. Jill doesn't bother choosing a movie--she just watches whatever is on television.
For some unknown reason there are hordes of highschoolers wandering the streets. I don't think they're from Ashland. I think they're visiting the shakespare festival on a school trip. I think the Oregon Shakespeare Festival ends at the end of the month. So downtown Ashland is their playground during the daytime hours for the weekend. I prefer to imagine it this way--one of those sanctioned adolescent respites from home for which their parents provide money. Having Hollywood antics in their hotel rooms, flirting, wandering around town latte-laden, feeling cool. Wearing the new outfit they bought with their allowance last week.
He licks his thumb, not because he is fliping through pages, but because that is what he always does when he reaches for a piece of paper. There is not much on the paper. It is full of text, yes, and it once meant something important, but now there is nothing there. It stares back at him goadingly. He runs his hands for the hundreth time through his greasy hair, and makes a few scribbles in the notebook beside the papers and the pile of books. It is not working. This is just like his office. He came here to jolt himself into finish the essay he has been tinkering at for the past year. He has not yet tried to submit it to wider academia, because it never quite satisfies him. He always feels that something is missing, some part in his reasoning that seems arbitrary. Even now he finds himself staring out the window doing the P.h.D-holding equivalent of eeny-meeny-miney-mo in his head. Maybe it is not an important contribution to philosophy anyway. Maybe he will have to give up his reputation of being a prolifically published professor of philosophy and an asset to a for the most part unremarkable university. Maybe he cannot finish this paper. He puts his black bowler hat over his slicked-back jaw-length hair. He straightens his back, stretching, jangles his bangles back into place, and flips desperately through one of the books at his side, this time forgetting to wet his thumb.