Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm reading the book "Last Orders" by Graham Swift which is about four men taking the ashes of a fifth to scatter off Margate Pier as he wished --an easy day trip for London, where they live, but they aren't going too fast.

Some of the men and the dead guy knew each other originally from the desert war, the war against Rommel. They speak of and remember to themselves riding on a camel in free time and going to prostitutes, but they don't speak of or remember the combat part.

This reminds me of a British play I once read where in the first act we are with two guys in that very desert war, two guys not in free time but in the battlefield part of things, though there isn't shooting right this second.

Whenever any one passing by asks them for directions to anything, they direct them to a nearby minefield, without saying it's a minefield.

Even though it was a play and I never thought war was nice, I really didn't want to take that in when I read it. That they were directing people on their own side to walk into a minefield.

I didn't want to take it in because it had the flavor of reality.

Why did they do it? They were a couple of young guys sitting around without much to do at the moment and sort of--why not?

When people are trained in meanness and surrounded by meaninglessness, sometimes the meanness and lack of meaning spread because they spread it.

I read the sports section because I somewhat understand it, it has a plot line, and I don't care that much. It can be a relief from the parts of the paper I care about more, where young guys spread meanness and meaninglessness with or without government support.

I fantasized to a friend once a whole section of the paper about relationships, a section as big as the sports section about people making big and little breakthroughs in how they related to each other. The mistreated kid in a better home relaxes some. The person who really does love their partner manages to deal with conflict in a way that isn't a copy of how parents did it.

I fantasized a whole big stadium like a sports stadium filled with people celebrating better ways of hanging out with other people, making it real somehow right there in the stadium

My friend told later me she told her girlfriend about this fantasy. Her girlfriend totally got it and got scared and cranky. She couldn't stand thinking of things being that much better and that much more like a good home on a large scale.

Maybe she couldn't stand thinking of better because it put it too much up against the worse that is our daily life. Or maybe she's addicted to what is and the faintest thought of that drug not being universally available, in your face, in your heart, every moment was too painful.