Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Primitive

One of the great things about office work is that it provides a valuable structure for drinking. Since joining the ranks of the partially employed, I've been taking advantage of this unexpected perk, and every Friday I've walked from said office to one of several Cambridge drinking establishments, where I grab a table, sit in the sun, and drink beer while reading A Game of Thrones. With my usual ear for the lyrical, I have named this ritual beer-and-Game-of-Thrones-Friday.

Like most rituals, it won't last forever. There's a little bit less sun every week--for reasons that have thus far eluded me--and I'm almost out of book. Somehow I doubt beer-and-Alien-Phenomenology-Friday is going to work as well, as ontology wrinkles my brain even when I'm sober. While it lasts, though, it's been a rewarding experience, and if I'm going to be spending hours-upon-hours in the meta-feudal, rape-and-dragon-urine-soaked world of epic fantasy, it seems appropriate to do it while consuming an enormous amount of beer.

I am traditionally alone during these outings. But "alone" isn't what it used to be. The last fifteen years have problematized the act of drinking alone. I have my Britta-phone with me, which theoretically puts me in contact with most of my inner circle, assuming they have nothing better to do. And, of course, there's George, albeit time-shifted by a decade or two. But I don't bring the web with me. Judging from the people I see around here, that's comparatively off-the-grid. If you're reading a book at a bar, and you're not an attractive woman, people will generally leave you the hell alone. I joined the ranks of the smartphoned this week, so I'm wondering what will become of these little rituals.

The Big Bad God of the monotheists is both immanent and transcendent, in our world and out of it. This is generally described as an apparent contradiction--apparent being the key word, due to our endearingly limited human-ness--but the former always struck me as being dependent on the latter. To be here isn't something you can accomplish by being omnipresent. Rather, to be meaningfully here, you must also not be anywhere else. Ergo, to be everywhere--as opposed to be just all over the damn place--you have to be simultaneously nowhere. As I'm dragged kicking and screaming into the late oughts, I'm going to be not be in slightly fewer places, and I'll be within earshot of a few more people. It's how writers do things these days, I'm told. Since I spent my formative years learning to put sentences together, instead of learning network management or shotokan karate, it's probably the responsible thing to do.
Master of karate and friendship for everyone.

Still, I'm going to try not to get so used to the grid that I think of it as part of my central nervous system, because, really, I love y'all, but there are too fucking many of you to keep track of. Sometimes, there's something to be said for being nowhere but where you are.

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