Bones, this post is on the inevitability of human drama.
Today I was reluctant to go on the canals, but went out of a sense of obligation for Jimbo. He has been so great taking me for trips on the boat with him, that I thought it only fair that I should accompany him if he felt like a ride. In the end I was glad I went. Though it was colder than it has been for the last week or so, it was still pleasant.
We ran out of petrol along the way, which was expected. For some reason Jimbo was adamant that it would be good for the engine if it ran dry, and we had the other canisters filled. Unfortunately the resulting vacuum in the petrol canister meant we couldn’t unscrew the lid, and were adrift in the middle of the canal. Luckily there were few boats about today.
In the end Australia had to disembark and beg some tools from a restaurant, and returned with a pair of pliers and a hammer. I’m not sure what the hammer was for. But there was a silver lining – in the process of removing the gas cap, I suggested that maybe the canister was not meant to be a vacuum – that possibly the little screw to let the air in was meant to be open while the boat was in operation. This theory turned out to be correct, and the engine was running better than it ever has on the way back. So that was a happy little accident, to quote Bob Ross.
To surround oneself with other people is to accept a role in the stage play that is the drama of the human condition. It is impossible to stand separate, or to observe this unfolding without getting caught up in it yourself. The only move is to play, and then it becomes a case of how well you play. If you neglect to choose your own role, one will be assigned to you.
A good example of this is Facebook and other social networks. I frequently have half a mind to announce on my wall that I have committed Facebook suicide, and that if anyone wants to contact me they can email me. But I know that if I do, I’ll be pulled back in at some stage in the future. The announcement itself will be to invite people to speculate on and judge the merits of my actions. ”He thinks he’s better than us.” ”He’s probably gotten into some kind of trouble with an ex girlfriend.”
All of this, and more, when all I want to do is to stop playing this particular game. I don’t like the fact that there’s a lot of people I don’t like (i.e. my wider social circle) who have access to intimate details on my life. I don’t like the fact that I will be called upon implicitly to “like” someone’s status update, that I will be counted on to write “happy birthday” on some old acquaintance’s wall. At what stage does one become “Facebook official” when dating someone? It may be that I’ve just gone on a few dates with someone and they state on their profile that they are in a relationship with me. I am then obliged to do likewise, and suddenly we are more committed than we were before – dragged into it by the anonymous force of this social network. If we break up a few weeks afterwards, I have to change my status and this will be broadcast to hundreds of people – inviting even more comment or speculation.
I want separate myself from this particular avenue of drama. In fact, I want to be free from most human drama, but all too often I feel myself being pulled back in. It is impossible to stand apart.
We all feel the same things, only at different times. I’m not sure where I heard that, but it’s something that keeps coming back to me. I know that none of what I’ve talked about will be news to you Bones, nor will it likely be news to anyone. I often think that just about all of our problems and the issues in our lives can be reduced down to a small number of tensions. The thrill of refusal vs the security of submission. Or the tension between the individual and his obligations to the collective. This is likely what lies at the core of this.
There were a lot of swans on the canals tonight, I must’ve seen at least 20. There were very few boats out, and without any wind at all the water was like green glass.
Driving near the red light district I saw a family that was obviously on vacation, but the husband was on point, ahead of his wife and kids, and was looking greedily at all the windows – sex shops, sex shows, coffeshops. He needn’t have bothered, the red windows were down the side streets. I wondered what he was really after, I wondered if he now felt constrained by his family, by the choices he had made. It certainly looked that way, though it was probably a feeling that would pass for him – and it was obviously for the best, for everyone, that this was the case.