Moments aged by the accumulation of too many minutes

November 15, 2011 § 2 Comments

Tom Clark has responded in the comments to my previous post as well as, with the addition of photos, on his blog. His thoughts, as ever — seriously, you should follow his site, it is like morning nourishment for me — were the necessary muse for a reflection whose words I’d been searching for a while.

Consider this self-citation a formal addendum to the previous post:

There is too much that is not “of” the moment, or at least too much that you’d rather not retain, for whatever reason, for that moment to remain more than merely that. & that’s what I prefer, I think, the “merely that,” which is where the naivety comes rushing back, as often happens with preferences. And perhaps all this is good & right. Moments aged by the accumulation of too many minutes, ossified by the piling up of hours, like bodies flung into a mass grave, these too often in my experience become a kind of memorial or tomb, from which all things enter but never return.

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§ 2 Responses to Moments aged by the accumulation of too many minutes

  • tom clark says:

    Brad,

    The nights up at Sproul have become extremely bewildering and disorienting for me, actually a real test or trial of some sort from which the reflective passages of those several long slow painful hikes homeward have brought neither rescue nor even respite. It’s all one long thought now. Far more mind than body.

    On Wednesday night, again quite late, my loitering had, unusually, a certain element of intent. I was looking for you. As of course we’ve never met, my detective kit contained only your avatar photo. So there was the scene: hundreds banging on pots and pans, a lot of confused and unhappy dogs (really, the open question of animal abuse came to the fore, in the first few private conscience-scans), and on the Sproul steps, the now familiar cadre of cops and tents and “human-mic” speakers, with their echoed unintelligible phrases disappearing before I could make out much of anything. I’m not so good at hearing anymore. But I did catch the phrase “Don’t freak out!” Echoed by — as in a Grand Canyon of Idiocy — “Don’t freak out! Don’t freak out!”

    Like whoa, really helpful advice, thanks, and have a nice night, Occupy Babies!

    Yet still I hung on, back at the periphery, by the fountain, with the unhappy freaked-out dogs.

    I espied two possible Brads.

    A helmeted person, thirty-something, guyish, with horn rims, astride a mountain bike. I inched further, and got the intense hate-vibe message of that awful phrase, “Boundary Issues!”, ejected, much as a gob of spit, into my face, from what then was revealed to be a (sort-of?) woman, who, in the same gesture of solidarity, turned her bike in my direction, jammed on the pedals, and would have run over me had I not been as nimble as… oh, say, a Chancellor.

    My next candidate almost saved the night. His name was Rolando. The horn-rims fit but… well, wrong colour person. Still, right colour person. He explained that he likes to hang back around the edges, not let his emotions run away with him. And was I ever down with that, and am I ever down with that. We had a pleasant, thoughtful ten-minute conversation while dogs went nuts all round us round us. And then both drifted off… Rolando to another edge of the edge, and I… well, see above.

    In short, what?

    Last night I hiked up there again. And on the campus paths found myself among a sizeable throng of folk likewise ascending. Mostly young and, well, laughing and, I almost have to say… looking for the party.

    Self to OG, at that moment: “wise up, buster.”

    A deep examination of the pockets yielded enough coins — almost — to make the bus fare home.

  • Brad Johnson says:

    It seems that Rolando is a very adequate stand-in for me. My bodily presence, the self-effacing kind I mention, typically occurs on the edges. Certainly when these crowds are statically clinging to a piece of property not their own. I’ve not made it to Oakland or Berkeley the past week or so, due to other obligations, though I have sought to keep up. There is a sense that these things are charged, at least for the spectacular displays, by crisis, of which the various police departments across the country seem content to keep on creating. During the interim, I feel considerably less useful. There are enough people who also look like me, there needn’t be another, piping up with a nickel’s worth of insight and quite likely taking up more space than he is occupying it.

    Having said that, we should try to coordinate a meet-up at some point.

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