Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nothing Ends/Happy Holidays

This morning, for the first time in my life, I came down the stairs to find a large, lavishly decorated Christmas tree with carefully wrapped gifts arrayed around it. This wasn't totally surprising -- the tree was there when I went to bed, and I did not awake suddenly at my apartment in New York to find stairs and a second, more rustic story below. I am at my in-laws in Maine, they decorated the tree, the staircase was theirs and so on. It was snowing outside, big fat festive flakes.

The Classical is resting, but there's still work to be done, because there's always work to be done, but I felt a sort of comfort and relief I haven't felt all that often of late. Not just because of the usual stress and strain, although there's that -- I finished this week's column for Sports On Earth, on Kobe Bryant's vampirically batshit and typically fascinating team-hijack in Los Angeles, at the Portland Jetport Monday afternoon. Mostly because these are deeply uneasy times, even by the usual standards for this. Maria Bustillos and I talked about this at The Awl, with regard to the wonderful and way out-of-print dystopian Catholico-baseball apocalypse novel The Last Western.

Maria: So do you think the world is going to end, David? 
David: I'm of two minds on the apocalypse. 
David: (I just wanted to type that.) I certainly have a difficult time, looking at the things that are wrong and the responses they're engendering, feeling too optimistic about solutions. The abstraction and the deep and dimly understood grievances and the distance, all these different types of retreat: those are a bummer both because they give us a shitty discourse and stupid art, but also because problems as big as ours require non-individuated solutions, and a basic recognition that other people are as important as we are, and that we all ought to be thinking about each other a bit more. And working on that. Current events and all. 
David: But on the other hand: we're still here. People can be great. And the alternative to not fixing things is not tenable. The status quo is not tenable. People seem to be realizing this. 
David: It's difficult not to. I just can't see how that translates, or what it translates into. 
Maria: Well, here we are, agreeing about that, so there is a chance; where two or twenty or two thousand can agree, so can multitudes. Sometimes I fancy I can almost feel the change coming. I do not believe the world will end anytime soon, in part because it's been ending my whole life. There are always surprises, fair and foul. Things are dire, certainly, but I have what I am going to have to call faith.

Maria is smarter than me, and most anyone else. It can be difficult to have faith. I have difficulty with it myself. But it is nice to wake up someplace safe, with nothing to do, surrounded by people you like. It's restorative, and I hope you're there, too, today and tomorrow and for as long as you can be. Take care of yourself.

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