Date: May 23, 2003
Time: 10:31 (pm)
Subject: "home" again...
So... Here I am in Berkeley again. "Home" so to speak.
Planning the next move. What remains is the work visa. Monday,
errr tuesday. Memorial Day. So everyone remember those
who died for our sins... is that right? So I wrap up business on
Today is/was graduation day for UC Berkeley. Fittingly. For,
I have completed my semester's work as well. As the train pulled into
the Emeryville station yesterday, I polished off Glas by Prof.
Jacques Derrida. It all started in India, in Kerala, I picked up
a small text explaining Deconstruction in a nutshell. On the Train
north, heading back to, where, Calcutta, I guess? I read this book.
The author laid out the major moments in this movement which has infected
every corner of the Humanities; about Glas; this booklet pointed
at it like a finger pointing to the moon.
Deconstruction is a widely misunderstood discipline, which involves actively
reading a text, making a personal and almost subjective reading of texts
as opposed to the more conventional practice of reading where one accepts
the text as given objectively, as a final and isolated body.
Does this make any sense? Probably not. Its taken me the last
three years to come to terms with the ramifications. It took studying
Hegel, Saussure, Heidegger, Deleuze, etc. And to project, all my
study of the Abhidhamma(s) are to be 'redone' with the fruits of this
labour. Now, The tree planted, I have reaped the fruits of my labor.
I 'read' Derrida's reading of Hegel, of Christianity, of Genet,
and, yes, I can say, I actually understood it. This is no
light statement. "Understanding," used in this context,
is sorta like joining a cult.
Meanwhile, in the real world...
New York. Ahhh! So much happened! I rekindled friendships,
made new friends, explored new terra-tory, And, also came to understand
New York on a deep level, for the first time. I appologize for the
overuse of commas. Everything seems a tangent to a movement which
I cannot yet grasp. I am so emotionally exhausted, so physically
sated, that I'm beginning to ask whether it is possible to have 'too much
fun'. If it is, then I'm on the otherside of that threshhold.
No longer sure of who I am, what I'm doing, where I am, what is
going on... I have lost myself in the flow of the river into which I stepped
a month ago departing Berkeley. The contrast between my simple,
devot(ed)(ional), single minded, scholastically driven life then, and
the ultimately complex flow of the last month's adventure has me reeling.
I have become the embodyment of "not this, not that, neither not
not this nor not that." If that makes any sense. The
mystery has unfolded for me, the life opened up, doors of perception previously
cracked are now flung open to the bright light of day, the winds of time
blowing in, my grip on grasping broken. If none of this makes any
sense to one outside my head and I appologize to the two or three people
who read most everything I transcribe... This book (un)written has
even raced ahead of me...
Detail: when a (pre)fix is thus rendered parenthetically in Derridian
Dialectics, the concept is that both meanings should be read simultaneously;
with practice one can hold both meanings, and thus unfolds a new reading
where the text is made to read in double. One should not pretend
to have a place to stand, one should float in the concepts thus (un)folded.
'Truth' and 'Meaning', or the 'Sense' of a text as exegesis of a larger
construct should not be rendered linearly, becuase, frankly, linear meaning,
as is the 'self' is an illusion, for much the same reasons. Can
one step outside of oneself long enough to hold 'Truth'? And
can a mere travelogue grasp the existential natural existence of the traveler,
for whom the experience is (un)folding with every step? Bear with
me on this...
So I arrived in Berkeley, "Home", after so many weeks of travel.
I felt like a sailor returning from the open Sea. My legs are still
adjusting to the non-movement of the ground. An earthquake would
go unnoticed in my present state. I arrived in Berkeley with my
'U-Haul' the monstrous suitcase my father gifted to me upon departing
Charlotte, the royal pain in my backpacker's ass. It was too late
to access my storage unit, hence, I was relying on the generosity of friends
in my mind, with a very unpleasant last resort of hiking to my campsite,
to find if its inhabited and if my stashed sleeping bag was still there,
in short, to find if my squat was still my own, with baggage completely
unsuited for the occasion. Ties, Kenneth Cole shoes, but no tent.
I arrived back in Berkeley to find the epicenter of my social life up
for rent. Cafe Elodie is no more. Carman, Justin, Sam, thus
unemployed, and none of them answering my calls. What this means
is that being for once at the mercy of my environment, unequipped, well,
poorly equiped for the night, I was reduced to a waiting game to see what
might arise. So, on to the Backup Coffee Shop, the 'Berkeley Espresso',
their emotionally distant staff, interminable classical music, and free
wireless internet access...
And so I waited, made several calls to various parts of the country,
got my online-able affairs in order, paid my dues, marvelled that I was
still on top of my game, and waited... Sam and Lindy were planning to
go to a party in the Mission, and I didn't really feel up to it...
But when Lindy offered me shelter from this storm, I could not refuse.
Before I knew it, I was at a punk rock party, Celtic CDs were being smashed
beneith combat boots worn by drunken, beautiful punk-rockers while The
Misfits led a sing-along; beer was spilled, Cooper kept explaining how
drunk he was from Irish Car Bombs [a shot(glass) of Bailey's and Bushmills
in the bottom of a pint of Guiness], Sam was clinging ever-so-tightly
to his new Girlfriend... A perfect evening. [modesty belied
by this comment: vast omissions here].
And so by 4:30 (pm) I made it back to Berkeley... My storage unit was
unmolested, my unemployment checks and plane ticket were waiting for me
in my mailbox, "Curry in a Hurry" was still offering the five
dollar Buffet, and my gym membership was still valid... In short, "home"
was still home... tonight, after I finish this, and maybe yet another
Beer here at 'The Triple Rock', I will return (properly equipped; laptop,
tent, sleeping bag, filled water bottle, charged cellphone) to the H.M.S.
Yenni on Charter Hill. And if... well, if... then I can truly claim
another flawless trip beneith my belt. Score one for OCD [obsessive
compulsive (dis)order] but months of planning have resulted in a perfectly
perfect clean trip, and a safe return "home". I need another
So here I sit, sipping an IPA brewed mere feet from my seat. Seven
feet to be precise. And in the greater scope of things, that is
what is important right now. Two hours at the gym, two saunas (wet
before working out, dry after) later, here I abide. And in abiding
clear of mind, clear of intent, at peace, in good health, overwhelmed
by life. This has been the best year of my life. The
future that awaits me is a joy to contemplate. Yet another train
pass, yet another roadtrip, yet another adventure awaits after a week
here, getting my feet back benieth me. I have found "it,"
the perfection of wisdom, and the cessation of human suffering.
It is neither here nor there, nor somewhere in between. Peace in
our time is possible with HTML over TCP/IP and an IPA. My bodily,
mental, spiritual, and scholastic needs all met, exceeded, the flood,
all is on fire. Capital K's Duffel Coat is the soundtrack
in my head.
And where do we go from here. I've been married three times in
the last three weeks. I have accomplished more in my studies than
I ever thought possible. No longer on a dichotomous path, no more
with one foot in the world and one in the transcendent, now both feet
are firmly planted in the mystery. The life has been lived, the
battle has been won, Saturn has returned, and the promise of my youth
has been fulfilled. No longer a child, yet the child's mind
remains. No longer a vagrant, no longer a computer geek, no longer
a pseudo-intellectual, yet no longer grasping, no longer clinging.
Peace in our time. Feet firmly planted in the present abiding.
I have known suffering. I have learned the origin of suffering,
the cessation of suffering and the path to the cessation of suffering.
I have learned the abiding in suffering. Outside, while smoking
my cigarette, that warm 'petite morte', (or is it petit mort for me?)
two beside me were discussing Gary Larsen. The elder related a Far
Side cartoon that moved me once but time consumed. A morsel
of Truth from my Youth. The shtick: Two devils supervising two inmates.
The first struggling with/suffering over his wheel barrow full of coal,
the other, whistling, a smile upon his face. One devil turns to
the other and says, "That guy just doesn't get it..."
Lindy, last night asked me, "So what did you learn" from reading
Glas. I had no answer. But as it filters through into
my living memory, I'm beginning to see. The answer is just that.
Don't pretend to "get it". You're only fooling yourself
and dwelling in suffering once you "get it." Yet parallel-ily,
don't cease exploring the mystery. We have so many tools in our
toolbox; though most often truth is in the Hammer, sometimes the pliers
can be handy, too.
This is becoming pedantic, and I've still more than half my beer to go.
Massive Attack is playing on the Jukebox. I cast my thoughts back
in time, looking for stories to tell. There are so many moments
yet to be related. (un)Related. So many depths of emotion
unplumbed. So much I will not understand until I am yet again "homed".
Home. Really, that has been what this has all been all about.
What is that thing? It is where I am now, with my tent and sleeping
bag occupying the chair behind my laptop screen. It is my pack,
my only companion for so many meals. So many adventures has "the
pack" been there for me when no one else was. A turn toward
the darkness. I want to break paragraphs, but (sic.) Don't glamourize
this life. Children don't follow in my steps. The loneliness,
the anxiety, the depression, the stress; but mostly the loneliness is
my portion of this adventure. So much has to be suppressed on this
path. So much bubbles up in the midst of gladness; so much of my
life has been negated by the emptiness which is my constant companion.
Truly, my backpack, my dinner companion at so many fucking restaurants
around the world should be the ward from this path. Think of me,
in Belgium, in a plaza cafe with no one there to share the moment; my
pack in the chair opposite me. Think of me on the roof of a Bus,
Himalayan peaks rising all around, subsumed by loneliness, horny, seeking,
questing, empty of emotion for the moment, unable to abide in the glory
of my surroundings. A darkness sublimated in my memory and in my
relating these events in print. Today is a rare moment in the greater
saga of this ten year's roadtrip. Days when I can be at peace, and
in fact, an entire roadtrip, a month-long journey unsullied by this feeling
of emptiness. This trip was hard-earned, hard-fought. True,
this morning I woke up entwined with a beautiful girl, but how many mornings
have I woke up alone? In suffering is the possibility for
cessation. (With)in illusion is the possibility for Truth.
And yet I have to say, its all been worth it. To have one trip,
in the hundreds of thousands of kilometers I've travelled, (utt)err(ly)
untouched by emptiness. (Re)read Ecclesiastes for more information.
Pedantry-r-us. HTML needs a code for the backwords "r".
And a font for Irony. And a filter for melodrama.
I can not WAIT to pay RENT and have a JOB again!