<Friday, Nov. 30/12.> So, I’m sitting in this very crowded, very noisy bar in Chicago (Illinois, USA), & my friend & colleague is sitting across the table from me working intently on a newspaper article she’s gotta get written to meet a rather imminent deadline.
& we came here today from southern Ontario, Canada for a conference at the University of Chicago – a conference called “A Mountain of Waste 70 Years High: Ending the Nuclear Age.”
& at the table beside us is this slightly weird-looking guy – he looks like he could easily be the type who is plotting to blow something up or something. He’s alone & to me he looks kind of … alienated.
But you know, maybe that’s just me, ‘cos I’m making notes about ‘The Big Questions,’ about some of which I feel as though I might have had some new insights on this trip already – on the way down here – & so my buddy is typing away on her laptop, & I’m drinking my beer
(& yes, I'll admit that on occasion I’m a little on the paranoid side – nothing too serious, you understand, maybe a bit of an occupational hazard, you might say, but as I occasionally joke, just ‘cos I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not watching me. Heh heh, & I could say more, but … I won’t. :) :(
& I’m making notes about these sorta big ideas I’ve got percolating inside me – & I want to write about this stuff…if I can manage to actually articulate what I think I have figured, or am figuring out
& it’s nagging at me ever so slightly that this weird guy in the red shirt is plotting to blow us all up – or maybe just the bullies from his high school days or something  He is a heavy presence over there, you might say...
… & by golly, doesn’t a companion arrive – a girl – & I like breathe this big sigh of (almost maternal) relief, because, thank God! (or Goddess, or Great Spirit, or … Whomever) he is maybe NOT this totally isolated crazy wingnut character I’ve been vaguely imagining … as I try to puzzle out my new Unifying Theory of Everything (of course alienation figures rather large in this theory)
He has a girlfriend!
& my shoulders sort of un-hunch, & I breathe a sigh of relief &…
maybe the human race will survive for another day!
& maybe, so will I….
& hope. Hope hope hope hope hope … it dies very hard, doesn’t it??
& a Don Henley song has just come back into my head, ‘My Thanksgiving,’ with its line “for every breath, for every day of living, this is myyyyyyy thanksgiving.”
p.s. & here’s the deal: with our own tribe – the one we were born into – in the old old days, I mean – there almost certainly wasn’t all this darn judgment all the time all the time all the time.
We weren’t always trying to figure out whether you belong in “my” tribe – or wanting to turf you out of “my” tribe.
We only mostly hung out with our own tribe (I think).
Now we have to choose – to find – to actively seek out our own tribe (what we are born into now of course is utterly inadequate, that so-aptly named “nuclear family”).
It might take us well into adulthood to find our own tribe (I know it took me close to 40 years) & I think we do need to focus our energy on finding the tribe we do belong to & feel utterly comfortable within – not on alienating or demonizing or judging all the people who don’t belong ... you know??
p.p.s. a week later when I came across these hastily-bar-scrawled, beer-influenced notes...
Or nuking or bombing the CRAP out of people becos’ they don’t look like us or act like us or think like us or belong to the same religion
or have to make gobs & gobs & gobs of money to prove to everyone else (& especially to ourselves) that we are okay
& we don’t feel okay inside becos’ we are mostly kind of puny isolated lonely & alienated all by our little lonesomes...
becos’ we really need that tribe to belong to!
A tribe in which each of us is unique & appreciated & needed just for being who we fundamentally are – not for how expensive or fancy our suits or our jobs or our houses or our cars or our summer homes or our vacations are.
‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “No matter how far you’ve gone down a wrong road, TURN BACK!” – Source unknown
Runners-up: “Sin is that which separates.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“We have art in order not to perish of truth” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche