Sunday, July 14, 2013
Is it because I'm old? Is it out of frustration that time flows in one direction only? Is it due to resignation and a growing sense of helplessness?
I don't know. But increasingly--almost alarmingly, I guess--I just DON'T CARE.
So many things that used to matter, used to distress or excite me, used to provoke intense emotional reactions (either positive or negative) no longer maintain any real purchase in the registers of what the ed. psych. professors once called my "level of concern."
Long ago, for instance, I gave up worrying about my childhood obsessions: germs, poisonous mushrooms, ground glass surreptitiously slipped into hamburger patties by child-hating butchers and/or Martians.
Then, somewhat later, I realized that all of my fussing and handwringing and superstitious earth-hugging would do absolutely nothing to alleviate the loss of topsoil in Iowa or the oppressive pollution in L.A.
Also, along about that time, I stopped being excited about sex--at least with other people--(since it generally provided only transitory and remorse-inducing thrills, nothing of enduring worth).
Next, after myself posing as a pedagogical guru, I gradually lost interest in mastering new and supposedly "more effective" ways to teach the unteachable--foreign language--or indeed, anything at all--at least to unmotivated and intractable students (I noted, however and coincidentally, that ANY technique whatsoever would work with students who truly desired to learn, yet another reason to ignore the ever-changing but never more-efficacious teaching orthodoxies).
Now, at age 69, I find myself not caring (or caring very little) about all of the following subjects that once preoccupied me mightily:
--global warming (some organisms will survive, some won't: if human beings go, it's more or less good riddance, especially in Charleston, South Carolina.)
--wrinkles and gray hair (though I still pluck my nostrils and ears)
--anti-abortion laws (stupid people, including women, have always oppressed women: I don't see how this can be changed short of universal electro-shock therapy)
--religious bullshit and terrorism (the religious impulse--fear of death, really--is too deeply ingrained in the human psyche; people will always find a "holy" reason for killing their neighbor)
--wars (innately bellicose males need an outlet and an excuse for either snuffing out or bonding with other guys)
--right-wing nuts (humans are afraid of change)
--left-wing nuts (humans are afraid of staying the same)
--people who can't or won't spell correctly (life goes on, language changes and, eventually, we'll just text pictures anyway--like cave men equipped with i-phones--no one will have any further need for writing)
--ugly strip malls (they will fall apart in a few years)
--overhead power lines (I'm losing my visual acuity and I'll never get to live in San Francisco anyway)
--Chinese economic and/or political hegemony (long may they rule and build walls and washing machines)
--Israel, Palestine, Russia, North Korea, Iran and, you know, pissant rogue states (S.N.A.F.U.)
--the U.S. Constitution (it's outdated and dysfunctional, but it's become too "sacred" to be ditched, so just shut up and learn to love deadlock)
--Texas (fools need their asylums)
I confess, however, that I still DO have strong negative reactions to painful medical and dental procedures, to popcorn ceilings and to men wearing white socks with black shoes. Similarly, I continue to react positively to good coffee, good wine and any kind of foie gras, regardless of how cruelly it was produced. So I suppose one could conclude that I am not yet in a fully vegetative state.
I wonder, though, if anyone really cares.