Monday, August 22, 2005

Life as a paradox

I have decided to spend more time reading and less with the locals. I might love and admire my neighbors but one must be true to what you are. I wasn't surprised when the local owner of the dive next door tokd me to pick another spot. The incedent stemmed from the incedent that I described in my blog about predjudice, Several people were uncomfortable that I carry around a book or my laptop. The formal excuse was this is not a library. No doubt there was regional prejudice against the NYC person.

I explained there are 20 other places just like yours and others appreciate the business. I also am the rare customer that never has a tab. Funny but back home in my section of Staten Island we had three bars with ten times the population.

I find it amazing that the social disfunction is exactly like the inner city without the gunfire and few minorities. I tried explaining that education or learning a trade is an investment in yourself. It is much more important to get an education then a new pick up.

People do not seem to know or care to plan ahead. There is resentment against those that do well like the immigrant that owns the local hotel. Perhaps the obvious logic that if you do not spend your days in a drunken stupor and on cigarettes you too could acheive. Yet I do not understand jealousy at all. The man in the next cubicle wins an award I am happy for him. Yet this does not extend to my community where everyone seems jealous over something job, car, education, girlfriend etc. I do not understand how down to earth people can get so twisted. Why not try to acheive yourself but there is a crab apple menatity.

I miss being able to discuss books and ideas. Perhaps there is a better spot but one must be true to themselves. I am not a carpenter and I do notfix things as a hobby. I read and try to learn each and every day.

I find the social disfunction amidst the abundant natural beauty to be the paradox of
my section of VT. I looked at the sky and my friend the North wind came to visit. She looked at me perplexed but I explained we do not see the full night stars in NYC.
I can not recall ever seeing the winter constellations. I sat with the perplexed North wind and she departed as quickly as she arrived.

Life is full of paradoxes but be true to what and who you are.


drummaster2001 said...

it sounds to me that they are jealous over success. they probably want it, but are not motivated. they don't realize it takes work.

Warren said...

Bars are not exactly the place to "hang out" in small town America if you want intellectual discussion and company.

I learned to stay away from them by the time I was 22. Each neighborhood has its own bar and clientele, "outsiders" are not encouraged to frequent. Don't worry Beak, I'd be an "outsider", also.

Maybe I could come up and visit and we could dance on the bar, pick a fight then shoot out the lights. (I'm not much on Jose Cuervo, though).
[C/W song for the uninitiated]


Anonymous said...


There is an innate human tendency to try and "equalize" and "compare" one's-self with everyone around him. It's what the brain does 24/7. As Rousseau says in his "Emile":

"Reason alone teaches us to know good and evil. Therefore conscience, which makes us love the one and hate the other, although independent of reason, cannot develop without it. Before the age of reason we do good and bad without knowing it, and there is no morality in our actions, although there sometimes is in the sentiment of others' actions which relate to us. A child wants to overturn everything he sees. He breaks and smashes everything he can reach; he seizes a bird as he seizes a stone, and strangles it without knowing what he is doing.

Why is this? First of all philosophy will find a reason for this in the natural vices: pride, the spirit of domination, amour-propre, the wickedness of man. The sentiment of his own weakness, one could add, makes the child eager to act forcefully, to prove his own power to himself. But observe that broken old man reduced in the downward course of life to the weakness of a child; not only is he quiet and peaceful, he wants to have everything around him quiet and peaceful too; the least change disturbs and bothers him, he would like to see universal calm. How is it that similar feebleness and similar passions should produce such different effects in age and in infancy if the original cause were not different? And where can we find this difference in cause except in the bodily condition of the two? The active principle common to both is growing in one case and fading in the other; it is being formed in the one and destroyed in the other; one is moving towards life, the other towards death. The failing activity of the old man is centred in his heart, the child's is overflowing and spreads everywhere. He feels, if we may say so, strong enough to give life to everything around him. To make or to destroy, it is all one to him. Change is what he seeks, and all change involves action. If he seems to have more of a tendency to destroy it is only that it takes time to make things and very little time to break them, so that the work of destruction agrees more with his eagerness."

And so, it's much easier for many of your neighbors to tear you down, rather then build themselves up. To tear down, is both a sign of inability coupled with the vice of impatience. To build up, one of increasing ability and a recognition that the path to virtue and success is not an easy one.

Keep pumpin' the books, beak. And start lookin' for others like you, who are on their way "up". Try a "coffee shop" or a "bookstore". Are there any equivalent "Bible/ Torah Study" groups around? Got a Barnes & Noble?


ps - And there's nothing wrong with spending a little time by yourself once in a while. And if you include a good book, you're not really by yourself. It's an opportunity to spend personal time with some of the greatest intellects of all time.

bum from jersey said...

I don't think what you encountered is that uncommon especially in small towns. Indeed there are small towns with internet cafes and coffee shops but for many cafes are meant for eating and coffee shops are meant for drinking coffee. When you brought in your book and laptop you broke that ettiquitte (sp) and I it bothered some of the local residents.

As someone from a small town I understand what the residents of your town did and while I might not voice my distaste publically, I agree with how they feel. I live right across the river from New York but I do not understand how you go to an eatery of any kind and do anything besides besides eating and socializing. Why would you bring a laptop with you to a place where you drink coffee or to catch up with an old friend? You come into a social establishment to be antisocial by curling up with a good book or surfing the internet. To me, and the residents of your town, it makes no sense. You can do that anywhere but you choose to do it in a social setting where one would expect you to And I think you use prejudice out of term here. The people are not prejudice against New Yorkers (at least based on that situation) but rather do not agree with bringing in a laptop or a book into the local 'dive.' I think that needs to be pointed out because prejudice and disagreement are two very different concepts. When people think of New Yorkers, most do not think of people who walk around with laptops and books. Unless the people of your town do (which I definitely doubt) they are not prejudice against New Yorkers, they just don't appreciate antisocial behavior in a social atmosphere.

I think you are overreacting big time here beak.

Anonymous said...

Good points bfNJ. People do go to bars to "get away" and "escape" from work, and to socialize and have "fun". Computers and books are probably not their idea of fun. They probably carry connotations of drudgery and oppression to them. And let's face it, people who live in the "back woods" have plenty of time to themselves for book reading and computer using. They need places where they can meet and "socialize"... to offset all that "solitary time" that is unavoidable with their choice of residences/ lifestyles.

But I think you'll have to admit, bfNJ, that not all people like to bring work "home" with them and so prefer other settings. So next week beak, just stop at the package store, pick up a six-pack and drive down to the park to do your reading/ computer work. That way, when the cops come by and ask you what you're doing, you can tell them that you're just there to mix a little gasoline and fertilizer in the back of your van, before driving into town...


Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

You should chain yourself to the doors of the bar and protest this injustice.

Anonymous said...

Speakin' about worrying what other people will think... from a former "local"...

Henry David Thoreau, "Walden"...

"I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle dove, and am still on their trail. Many are the travellers I have spoken concerning them, describing their tracks and what calls they answered to. I have met one or two who had heard the hound, and the tramp of the horse, and even seen the dove disappear behind a cloud, and they seemed as anxious to recover them as if they had lost them themselves."

What was Thoreau doing in those woods? Enquiring minds want to "know"...


Warren said...

Well, Farmer John,

I'm not sure about Mr. Thoreau, but I am familiar with what a bear does in the woods.


Anonymous said...

The beak needs a "plausible excuse" to have his computer and books in the local pub. I think he should "pose" as a scientific researcher studying the mating habits of young American housewives. It'll make all the women want him to notice them... so they can get written up in the book he's writing. And the tales they'll tell him...phew! What lies do YOU think he should tell?


Warren said...

How about the movie producer bit!

Got a casting couch, Beak?


Always On Watch said...

I posted a comment here for you, but I don't see it. Grrr!

Good to see you commenting here at the Beak's. I've missed our chats over at Neptune's. BTW, Paul is so busy with all his music. This is his senior year, and he'll be giving recital after recital. I hope to hear him play several times. If all works out, I'll be posting one of his satires at my site: it's about planned communities.

Always On Watch said...

The bear in the woods? LOL.

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