Monday, October 11, 2010

One Month Down, Down...

It's written on the face...feeling queasy...

I began this project on Sept. 11 of this year.

That's when I  metaphorically laid myself beneath a shady tree, closed my eyes to the ongoing life of the larger world.

As of today one month of news and cultural occurrences have passed me by like a swift moving passenger train that rattles past without making local stops.

Empty tracks.

Thus I find myself living with questions such as has the economy gotten worse, better, or stayed the same? How is the war in Afghanistan going? Last time I was allowed to hear, it was grim. What about the November mid-term elections? They're just around the corner. Is there about to be a great shift in political power in this country? And, hey, did I hear the crack of a bat against horsehide? Doesn't the World Series always happen around this time of year?

How It Feels
At first my slippage into deliberate ignorance didn't leave me feeling all that different. It was like going away on vacation to a foreign country and being out of touch because you're busy snapping pictures and walking until you get blisters on your heels. Besides, all the media is being broadcast and printed in a language you don't speak and who understands Italian politics anyway?

In the last week, though, my "I'm just a tourist" attitude has gone away.

I'm starting to feel queasy.

Yesterday I drove past the Shell station and noticed the price hasn't fluctuated in a long while. What if it  were to suddenly shoot up fifty cents in a week? Another oil spill? A refinery disaster? Trouble in Yemen? I'd have no idea why.

Our son has continued adding to what he calls the Daddy No-No file (see Black-Out post) each evening after he switches off the network news. After much fishing for hints on my part he finally tossed me this bone:

"Dad, there have been several things that happened that you never would have predicted. They're not huge. In fact, there are probably quite a few people who haven't heard about them, but...

Tom Cruise had Renee Zellweger at "hello." My son had me at "but"...

...there's one cultural type event that happened almost everyone knows about."

Rats! I knew it. What could it be?

Looking Ahead
Okay...11 more months...Man up, do it!
 I've got to say the world in the immediate vicinity of my personhood seems pretty calm. This leads me to suspect that perhaps I haven't missed that much.

The cars still go down the roads carrying their drivers to and from work, the children get bussed to school, and every Friday night the high school band pumps pep into the air over at the stadium as the heroes in pads and helmets take the field.

Though I search for signs, there are no clues in the faces of the people. I do enjoy that I'm looking at all those faces more intently than before, from the cashier at the big box store to a colleague at the photocopier. I'm listening carefully, too, to every word that comes from their mouths. And listening, that's a good thing.

It's going to take time to tally the virtues and vices of being Van Winkled. Time is exactly what I have. Eleven more months of it.

Sigh. - V.W.

1 comment:

  1. If the OED understands that you have used Van Winkle as a verb, you could get your own entry. It would depend on how legit they consider your blog as a "publication." Look how carefully I pay attention to Oxford tours.