Ten Thousand Days – Ten Thousand Hours
Malcolm Gladwell says it takes ten thousand hours of practice to become a master at anything. That’s three hours a day, every day, for a decade. MB has done it or almost done it — he picked up a bass somewhere around my Day 7800, in the aftermath of a drug-induced hallucination where he latched on to the dynamic reflective bass line of a Grateful Dead show. I seem to remember watching a poster dissolve on the wall, then losing my capacity for speech, and returning to my bedroom to rave one out.
Funny — I think the thing is that I’m very attached to my ego, and it’s hard for me to let it go. On the other hand, it’s also a great relief to escape from myself. Me and GS had a conversation about that once — the smart man is always thinking, always talking to himself, and whiskey or the soft smudge of marijuana smoke quiets the chattering.
I went to a Happy Jewish Law Party yesterday, Engrish translation of Simchat Toirah, some standard Pro-Bush skullcap-wearers, lots of lovely Jewesses with curly hair, my element, my element, right, except for my insane politics (insane to them), my radical free-thinking, my atheistic nihilism — how come Obama won the Nobel Prize? By not being Bush, maybe? Fat Jew with checked shirt and dumb eyes hungering for Bibi to be able to drop a bomb on Iran. Really? Really? I think that would be a terrible idea.
Ghosts and Shadows of Ourselves. Or myself, I’ll speak for myself, these things — RG’s friend was there, but unsure if her name was Laura or Lauren (not true, almost positive it’s Lauren) did not say hi. Still. Nevertheless. No interest in the OverJews. OverJews. If Hitler comes again, and rounds us up, I will march with my people proudly, with the great dignity of our race, our history, our covenant with the Unknowable Spirit That MaKes Us Real. Till then — how much intercourse can I have with them?
Oh, Josh. You consider yourself so enlightened. Like you’re the only one who has ever figured it out. How can that be so? And why are you so unhappy then? If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? (answer to that, of course, which is that riches too require a sort of an animal blindness, a privileging of the future over the past, and for us few preterite with no future at all, that would not make sense, I am happy now in my middling wealth — could I be happy with less? No doubt — )
Perhaps I am unhappy because my gaze is longer than my reach — my mental mind grapples with infinity and annihilation (annihilation — coming to nothing); yesterday, in the apartment across from me, I watched a woman or a girl get dressed. A girl — anyone my age or younger must be a girl — since I, almost ten thousand days old as I am, am clearly not a man. Where there are no men, be a man. Thank you for not making me a woman — the Orthodox Men say that, in their prayers on rising, to wet their day with the sweet liquid of misogyny — putting the pussy on a pedestal — benevolence towards women is not the same thing as respect for women — not stopping JF from annoying those girls — they’re big girls — quite capable of taking care of themselves —
Out my window a soft song is playing — a woman singing, a piano. (a little looking, a little thinking tells me that I think the song is Sunrise, by Norah Jones, from the album Feels Like Home)
The hypothesis is that my extracurricular, extramural activities creates a floor of knowledge others are not privy too, and playing in this broader realm, it is extremely limiting to come back down and speak with the hoi polloi who fill their days I don’t know how — exhausting to always be trying to catch everybody up — similar to my Days from 2000-3000 range, where continuing to play with Castle Legos and Castle Legomen, all the blocks and blockmen, after my friend went home, I gave birth to an elaborate evolving world and backstory — by the time my friend returned, cooperative play was no longer as interesting as the world of play I’d created by myself.
Such a life is lonely, for sure.
I think that is why I prefer, with a preternatural visceralness, those who share the same floor as me — where I can say Rawls and they say, yes, or Bolano, and they say yes. It makes me feel less alone, that all my vain intellectual sailing has not, at least, left me completely stranded and exiled from the Continent of Man —
(but isn’t that laziness?) (or am I now making excuses for a lover who did not know Rawls or Bolano and did not care to?)
Funny. After we had that telegraph conversation where she said Bolano and I said Bolano, Older Sister Steinsteen tells us the story of the boy who purports to reread Jack Kerouac in order to win the love of a girl who puts On the Road as her favorite book on Facebook, that Omnipresent Everchanging Yearbook in the Sky. What’s the lesson? Only that we should not do that, certainly —
The dilemma is this. There is no judgment on the hoi polloi. There is much much that I do not know. I cannot judge one who has never heard of Rawls — and if Older Sister Steinsteen had said “Who is Rawls?” or Bumblebee says “Who is Rawls?” or my own Mother Goose said “Who is Rawls?” what? I wipe my hands of them? Surely I brought up Rawls for a reason — surely I can explain the reason while standing on one foot? If not, what am I? How did we get where we are? We are not born fully formed. If what I have to say is interesting, so be it. If not, so be it. Not a criteria to judge others.
I can play. And when with someone, I can force them to listen to my rantings, and they will listen because they want to. A case in point, this record, which my Great Love, the Great Love, has read regardless of the twists, turns, and dodges I put within it, trying at hiding myself from myself.
My gaze exceeds my reach? Or is my reach only limited by my imagination? Or perhaps, like the paradox, I’ve created a stone I can’t lift? The Contemplation of the Infinite — is it good or is it bad — it must be good — it must be good — it must be good — ash I was (when) and ash I’ll be (when) —
— not me — not me — when I die, plant me in a field with an acorn in my mouth and the tree that grows, that will be me, or almost me — and those that love me will come and sit beneath that tree — and maybe — maybe when I think about my inevitable unavoidable deceasing, instead I’ll think about that tree, about what comes after — about a beautiful wife and a beautiful son and a beautiful daughter, standing beneath an ever taller tree.