Monday, March 12, 2012

Every memory leaves me with regret

There are six kids at the corner table talking about sex, four guys and two girls. "Stop means no." "Yeah, but no means yes." The Tedeschi Trucks Band comes on the air, that effin slide. "I don't care about hurt feelings, I just want to do my own thing." It's hard to tell whether they're doing anything other than talking. The pale girl with baby fat and chipped purple nails starts to giggle. It's after two o'clock but this is breakfast for them, bloody marys and mimosas, voluptuaries at the temple of technology. The sun has finally been coaxed out of its gray cocoon and the South Congress parade gets going in earnest. Animate flowers sashay by in their custom-made boots and antique dresses. Lanky and dreamy. You feel a bit of a buzz at the tip of your cock and wonder how in hell you're ever gonna process this shite. There's only one answer: write it down and put it on display. You gave up your right to privacy when you came down here.

An ice-cream truck stops on the corner. Dino leans out and says, "Getcha novelties here." This may be a full-time gig for sour-pants but you wouldn't trust Dino with your cats. He charges whatever he wants to depending on how short his customers' skirts are. He used to be a real ladies' man, but now he looks like he'll never get it up again: poor panther's got white whiskers. When the girls brandish their tattoos, all he can do is squirt them some extra fudge and shave a buck off the price of a sundae.

M. leans over and asks, "How many worlds can you inhabit at the same time?" You think to yourself, what a dopey question. The answer may be finite, but it's incomprehensibly large. Who's counting? Stephen Wolfram, for one. Reluctantly you give assent to his central thought: computation accounts for everything but only humans can provide a motive for doing the math.

With the sun comes optimism, the feeling that everything can be remade and made right this time. The metaphor of America as a melting pot seems to hold water here -- despite its size, one can discern individual humans in the crowd, each eager face belonging to its rightful owner. They know which anthill they've come from and they're not going back. Riding the escalator down to the ground level yesterday, you were overwhelmed by the prodigious amount of sexual energy on display -- the kind that frightens Republicans. Selfish memes are sexy carriers.

Now suppose these kids are smart and know a helluva lot more than you did when you were hiking around upstate in a fugual imitation of Leatherman. Suppose they know their brands, their Frito-Lay and their Chevrolet, are corpses. Suppose they don't mind being marketed to because pitches run off their backs like water off a duck's ass. Now suppose you've got to sell them on your version of culture. Don't bullshit. Tell the truth. Act your age. Maybe you're not finished yet.

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