1985. the year of the almost divorce. my brother drove a Saab. you could hear each gear through the hills outside Boston like a soft and warm siren. i was having my first breakdown. witnessing the family fall apart. feeling it hot. then cold. crying all the time. my brother looked out for me. he tried.
We stayed in the Motel Seven Deluxe Suite, you know, the one with the hydrogen bed and the nitrous oxide satellite feed? We fastened one another into the zero def chambres, where we felt HBO and TellTime into the night. Tactile feedback chambers were all the new rage. Supplemented, and in some cases supplanted, all visuals. Transcended temporal limits. The future! Was it really with us? In accordance with the present. Uhh…wow?
Wicked! was the exclamation all over Boston, when MIT held an open house to showcase the event. Of course, two billion watched at home. Only five or six thousand bipeds actually crossed the Charles River. Most of those took the Redline. Some took the bus. A few trifling souls, actually swam and never made it. The river was being sanitized, but the project yet to completion. Not everyone apparently knew. The Boston Harbor was much cleaner. Chalk it up to universal solvent. The Harvard crew team sculled right into one of the gas filled corpses, the next day on the river. It hardly made the news. What with the breaking of the tactile chamber phenomenom. What with the not-so-far-fetched claims that our human undertaking had finally brought the two into alignment, present and future. Despite the predictably unwelcome intelligentsia criticism. Which came back across the dirty Charles in elastic and immediate response. Faster than an EMT to an heart-stopping event.
The problem, the small world of most educated braintrust informed, was that said invention professing temporal re-alignment, if not a hype (which many knew right away, probably was), occasioned the grave consequence of leaving the consumer with no apparent future. But this was all shuttered into the past. Our emotional scales of distress smoothed out over and into the world, like the skips of skipping stones, behind us. The braintrust was archived. We could only remember how we virtually cried our carbon tears into the deluxe thick wet darkness of the light. At the moment of passing of the longest virtual night. How the tomatoes rolled off of their vines, and planted themselves in West Hollywood sauce vats. Sloughing off their celebrity skins. Their seeds and juices bubbling up effervescently, acid-mannered offspring of the rich and the famous. We could see red, again. Without having to immediately experience the frightening momentum of our great cultural furies. A safe and projective identification was no longer impossible. Standing on the sidelines of the regular though tawdry self-mortification which comes of a reacting-out upon the fingered source.
So was the way of the world, in the past. The common tale of intentions, paving the paths to hell. Now hollow and insensate, paved over in the gloss of primary colors, dutifully lacquered by some diligent postmodern botomaton. The thread of today, diving into the embroidery of tomorrow. So much for the phrase; to beg, steal, or borrow.
Union. Ivy. blueblood. aristocracy. old money. brownstone townhouses. this my inheritance. lakes region retreats. soft, sensitive, privileged big feet. don’t require a crosswalk to get across the street. just a cashmere wrapped waist of floral watercolors would arrest them. skidding to a stop to let them pass by. i guess to let us pass by. nobody could replace them. nobody could replace us. in the history books all over the many and diverse states of america, no uprising, uproar nor campaign could erase them. erase us. not now, atleast.
So privileged yet diminished was i, young, with a voice not yet heard, and when heard, silenced often if not quickly. youngest of my tribe, i would need evocative presentation to capture their imagination. early on i learned needed to grip their hearts with fear. not only would i come out liberal, i would also come out like fluid on identity continuums.
Halloween? easily my favorite of holidays all year. tp the trees. smashing pumpkins all over the place. stealing candy left out in trays by out-of-towners. upscale hoods. haunted houses get egged. fake cemeteries. blindfolded with hands in spaghetti in popcorn bowls we took for nightcrawlers. for goodness grace. i took it all in, the freaks in the streets. the costumes. on any other day, the question would confront me. Why or how was i so out of place?