Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Enthusiasm; Winners and Losers

Today was one of those multiple-metaphor-on-a-theme days. Before heading out tonight, I happened to read Leon Rooke's short story "Wintering in Victoria". It was a typically wonderful Rooke story with a typically wonderful Rooke twist, like a gentle screwdriver applied to the heart, before the deep and slow turn. The protagonist at first appears to be a shit, an unconcerned ass letting his wife, job, and friends fly away because of his neglect. But then the other characters become more finely etched. And, with his hysterical (ex) girlfriend, the girlfriend's mother, his best friend, and his best friend's wife all set in silent (and not-so-silent) hostility against him, at the mother's house, Mr. "Unconcerned" goes up the stairs, waits for berating ex to come up the steps, comforts her, then continues, alone, to the bathroom where he commiserates with her truly neglected (and abused) daughter (from the ex's doing). They escape out the bathroom window and run, giggling through the woods.

Of course, there's no escaping the complex deciphering of relationships, the appearance with the reality.

I then turned on the second period of the Canucks hockey game where in short order the home team popped in a goal. The crowd of 18, 000 stood and yelled in concert, and the skaters melded in a melange of head-slapping, half-hugging, and smiling swearing approval.

I then took off to catch the last half of the weekly local musical idol event where 14 remaining singers competed for the "last person standing" prizes the last week before Christmas. I caught a beery-faced dude in mid-chorus of "Bye Bye Miss American Pie", the band throbbing the chords with enthusiasm matching that of the packed restaurant/bar. Next up was a 93 year-old warbler who chose a chestnut, the tune's moniker escaping me. The post-octogenarian gave it his all, and the crowd went nuts. After the judges gave heartfelt thanks and love, he noted how his voice was a "little stiff at the beginning, but then I settled down, though after hearing your comments, I feel stiff all over." The crowd, including me, roared even louder than they and I did after his song. Before the next singer appeared on stage, I glanced over at one of those inevitable bar-TV screens, and caught the shining face of the victorious Obama, while behind him throngs of supporting fans yelled in silent back-up. gawd knows what their honest emotions were behind the outward-same group visage.

After my wrap-up duties as idol-night balloteer (as opposed to the 14 balladeers), I headed home by myself whilst Verna, as part of her organizational duties, remained. The brief rains during the hockey game had stopped, and a gorgeous network of stars pricked the sky. I say "network", but of course that's a poetic shift. To take it further, poetic, here, means "lie". Are the stars "connected"? They're dead stuff, billions of light years away, and away from each other. But our human need for enthusiastic connection, and aching dumb hope, no matter how deluded or incongruous it may be, is necessary to us. We need to urge ourselves on to harmony. However much we lie, there's not only a noble intent, but a noble metaphysic to it.

Oh .... the 93 year-old? He was the only one "voted off the island".

No comments: