Friday, November 25, 2005
Nothing Ever Changes, But Nothing Stays The Same
At ten o'clock that night, there was a knock on our door. On our porch was standing a guy who could barely stand still, smelling of something smokey that I didn't recognize, telling me a desperate story about how his car was about to be towed and could I just give him a couple of bucks because his wallet was in the car, but he couldn't get it, and he would get it and pay me right back. I wasn't really sure what the right thing to do was. It didn't seem like I could really do him any favors either way. I gave him some money and he left. I don't know what I'll do the next time that happens.
It was the ten billionth Thanksgiving hosted by the newly married couple in their new house (oh look, it's 1952. Though I guess the crack addict having withdrawal was less than Eisenhower-y) in the history of mankind, and I don't know that the fact that I'm publishing the news and pictures about it on the web where people in China could (entirely theoretically) access it until the end of either time or digital computing, whichever comes first, makes it profoundly different from all those Thanksgivings celebrated by the poor sods who lived in the dark ages before wireless broadband. On the other hand, this one was different. This one was ours. One of my commonly-cited corollaries to Odds-Are-Oneness is that It's Different When It's You. All of the things, the problems, the joys, the sorrows, and the rites of whatever have been experienced and chronicled infinite times, but never by You. Wherever You are, somebody else has already been, and can tell you all about it. But it won't ever be quite the same, because that happened to Them. This is happening to You.
I'm not sure what the enlightened position on this is--I suppose if you're totally on board with the Sattvah, or whatever, there's no difference between Them and You: you've achieved totally empathy. That's what I hear, anyway. For the rest of us, I'm not sure what Right Action is. In the small things, like Thanksgiving, it seems okay to tell the stories and show the pictures. If You tell the story poorly, They will be bored for ten minutes, and if You tell the story well, They might be enthralled, and remember how it was when They had the same experience. Either way, no permanent scarring. As for the harder questions, I don't know.
*after seeming like our real estate experience couldn't possibly get any worse, this week it went ahead and got worse, which is what the trying-to-be-a-Buddhist entry below is about. I would talk about it, but it's too terrible. I want it to be done and to never speak of such things again. As L. says, we are never ever moving again. Ever.