Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mere being is three beers at The Famous Bar

Last night I sat for several hours with a couple that I consider to be my brother and sister, talking about changes in our lives and our work (major changes all around, in the world these days).

Thom had asked for the meeting, if you can call three beers at The Famous Bar a meeting, because though we see each other fairly often (by the socially-deprived standards of a devoted father with a five-year-old), we never really talk to each other when we see each other out.

As I said at the bar, its like the Yogi Berra conundrum: "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." We never really talk to each other, because we feel like we can always talk to each other.

Now, I am left wanting to do that again - meet Thom and Stefene for what he described as "unstructured play time," not defined by an art event or a project deadline - and I am left thinking of other people with whom I would like to spend this sort of time.

I guess I am craving more of an adult social life, but with the trappings of youth, when there was less we had to do, less we had set forth for ourselves to do, more time for what the poet Wallace Stevens called "mere being."

I also think of something I told another dear friend of mine yesterday. She is ten years younger than me, unmarried and without children. She has to work two jobs to make ends meet, and ends still don't meet, she isn't sure she will have even one job come summer, and she is a working artist in an art world that is vanishing in plain view, like most of the rest of the American economy.

But, still, she is unmarried without children. And I was trying to tell her, no matter how harried or deprived of the time she needs to do the things she wants and needs to do she might feel, I really didn't believe her. She has time.

For a parent of a small child to listen to a childless person complain about time is like a parent with a baby listening to a childless person complain about air travel.

Yes, it sucks to rush, undress for security, rush, squeeze, rush, squeeze, wait, fret, rush, squeeze; but now do that while shouldering a basket of baby and a big bag of baby fixings, with the discomforts of air travel further colored, scented, and scored by the opportunity to change a foul diaper and calm a squalling infant once or twice along the way, and you will never, ever, ever really fret over flying alone again.

I want time. I want time to drink three beers at The Famous Bar with you.


This photo of Thom as The Rotten Apple from his Monstromo Flickr has a funny caption.


Anonymous said...

There's always time for talking over beers. You just have to make it.

Anonymous said...

There's always time for talking over beers. You just have to make it.

Aaron A. said...

Unstructured play time seems like a funny thing to schedule, but I'm in complete agreement. It's all about the time to savor ideas, to laugh about something that you can only laugh about with the right people, to let whatever happens, happen.

But I would also posit that being happens whenever you take the time to recognize the moment that you're in. Often, beers help lubricate the pump of realization.

Colin said...

That's a funny pic! I like beer! There's nothing I hate more than when people wanna hang out at home and watch TV with ya- Boring! A bar ensures that there will be conversation, laughing, food... let the good times roll!