Tuesday, April 1, 2008

eating and drinking and talking

I'm reading The Sun Also Rises.  I've read it before, in high school, and I hated it.  I tried it again a couple years ago and I lost interest pretty quick.  This time around I am loving it.

During my first reading, my big complaint was, "They just have coffee and get drunk and talk and that's it!"  

That is precisely the reason I love it now.

I was walking through The Mission the other night with a buddy of mine.  We had met for coffee downtown, and ended up somewhere near there for dinner, then made our way to a bookstore where we both lost track of one another for maybe an hour.  Then, later, walking through the cold, across a vacant 25th street en route from one coffee shop to another, still without any goals set for the evening, I told him what I just said about The Sun Also Rises.  I started going on about how much our own days are like that. It is all wandering and consuming caffeine and alcohol and meals, expelling language that in the end doesn't really amount to anything.  People get sore, people get hyped up, people fall in and out of love and lament and laugh and lament again and again and each day we're older and each day we have more things to talk about (I feel like the cornerstone of conversation in friendship is shared experiences), and that is the real meat of living.

I want to sing like every amazing singer I hear.  I want to write like every amazing writer I read. I want to move people the way I get moved by the people that move me.  I don't know if I want to live like anyone else though.  I'm not sure that is something you can really strive for. There are certainly people that live more ferociously, more for the moment than I do these days.  I've been more cautious as of late and sometimes I worry that I am losing my edge.  But I think that is just a change in what I want out of each day, a change in the things that bring me happiness. Ultimately the person that you are from one moment to the next dictates the sort of life you lead.

I think it is a cool thing that as you go on through life eating and drinking and talking, everything around you and inside you gradually changes, and you slowly slip from one setting, one dilemma, one state of mind to the next.  Your desires change and bring you different places and to different people, whether you are pushing them or not.  

And there are the common threads that you bring with you that keep you being you - the color of your eyes and the color of your personality, all of the memories that have stacked up over the years.  That's pretty cool too.

There is an up side and a down side to each age and place and interaction.  Seeing the good or the bad every time just depends on the sort of person you are.