Sunday, August 7, 2016

Turn Tables

I have a friend who seems to have made a major pivot in his life.  He's realized that he's lived more days than he probably has left and has altered his reality accordingly.  Unemployed, he'll probably never work again because the economy and the skill set he possesses don't quite fit in to today's circumstances.  He's bright...very bright, a college grad and has the gift of empathy.  Lots has gone wrong in his interpersonal relationships, but he's content to spend his time reading, observing, and commenting on the current political farce now playing everywhere.
I mention him because like many, he's an anomaly.  Between social and cultural realities, no sense of urgency, watching the parade go by.  Who knows, maybe he has a trust fund that supports this lifestyle.  There is often more behind what we see from the outside looking in.  But it occurred to me that this purgatory applies to us all in many ways, especially those of us who relate to the having lived more days that I expect to live in the future.
There are things that most folks no longer do; simple things, daily things.  Mail a letter, buy a newspaper, and pay for something in cash come easily to mind.  Writing a check in now passed, as is going inside a bank.  The nightly news is relegated to those over fifty these days.  And music...there's the rub.  It now seems if millions should have hung on to their turntables and boxes of vinyl records.  I'm even thinking go buying one of those Crosby record players so I can spin some of my prized blues collection again.

About 50 years ago the Kerner Commission, that blue ribbon committee that investigated race relations in 1968, warned that the U.S. was in grave danger of becoming two separate societies, one black and one white.  In many ways that has happened; yet there has been much cultural blending that they could not have foreseen.  It's always more complicated than we initially think.  There appear to be other dichotomies as well.  One of age seems apparent.  Generationally we don't do things the same way.  We don't shop, eat, recreate, and seek entertainment in a similar fashion.  Yet, this doesn't always impede people in social  situations.  Often situations arise where we dance, we talk and we grieve together.  Here's where I miss my students the most.  Learning is always a two way street.
Something that slowly sneaked up on me is my consciousness  of being the oldest one in the room.  I know I can fool people because I look and usually act a little younger than I am, but damned if I don't catch myself wondering who here is older than I am, when I walk into a pub or restaurant.
Fortunately (I think) I always find somebody if I really look hard enough.

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