old school unfiltered digressive blog post

the trail is adjacent to the tracks which are adjacent to the freeway: three disparate choices to answer the north-south question. now imagine this urban aorta, choked with carbon deposits, dirty blood cells forever coursing through it, tied off with a tourniquet of unknown provenance and design.

stop the flow, we said. or rather, i said (and only in my head at that), as i walked the trail empty of the populace, for of course they are encased in the dirty cells choking said aorta and if the city is a heart i guess that places me in the right atrium of this questionable metaphor.

i am walking the dog. he likes the rabbits and groundhogs, but most of all the deer, for he fancies himself le grand chasseur de cerf all because one time he cornered one up against a fence in the woods and thought he’d finally earned the latent ancestral badge of honor awarded through genetics at birth, his herding bloodline transmitted but never having been permitted to establish itself thus far in practice. sadly he was mistaken, however, for his continues to be a largely dull urban existence, devoid of any subsequent deer herding.

so the trail is good for meditative ruminations on metaphorical aortic tourniquets and such other fantasies never bound to reach fruition. for the primacy of the automobile holds fast, and has continued to do so for well over a century now. scourge of the earth though it is, it will never lose ground until the oil dries up. and thus will it facilitate its own demise, being an unsustainable solution to the perpetual problem of transportation, a problem that humanity can never seem to answer in a fully satisfactory manner.

let us consider what havoc the automobile has wreaked, keeping in mind first and foremost that it is a convenience, not a necessity. humanity survived for a much longer time without the automobile than it has with it. and in that time with the automobile, we have breathed in its toxic fumes and polluted the atmosphere with said fumes, changing the climate in the process; we have paved over millions of acres of useful land with impermeable surfacing for the sole purpose of facilitating its mobility, leading to massive amounts of toxic runoff into our waterways; and finally, last but not least, we have experienced its encouragement of some of our most egregious characteristics: aggression, impatience, and laziness.

now let us examine the basic premise of the automobile. it is a selfish machine, for it prioritizes the individual over the group. i get in my car so i can go where i want, when i want, in the shortest length of time possible. all of us in our solitary steel cylinders, hurtling toward oblivion…

sigh. i can’t keep this up. it’s two weeks old by now anyway. who can sustain this focused level of frustrated rage for so long. not me anymore (thankfully). i’ve long since let it die back down to its usual layer of barely smoldering ash but this draft continue to languish, growing further furry layers of word mold (25 to be exact).

today my computer thinks i’m in shrewsbury, pennsylvania. so now my inner voice keeps repeating ‘shrewwwsbury’ in a shrill voice. at least one part of me continues its valiant efforts to lighten the mood.

does anyone even write blogs like this anymore. where a person just spews out unfiltered content. i miss those. it seems as if they are long gone from the internet. now everything is so painstakingly curated to the point where it ends up being completely banal. social media is an easy target for blame, of course. it started out unfiltered, but then everyone became self-conscious, comparing their lives to those of their ‘friends’ and not wanting to seem less cool or fulfilled, not to mention the growing paranoia about offending anyone for fear of public shaming. because social media is now the public forum. meanwhile irl we’re all silently ambling around ignoring each other. strangers don’t talk to each other out there, but online they shred each other to pieces. also, now apparently if you’re outed for anything online your offline life is also officially ruined.

when will these two worlds fully merge, or have they already. for some perhaps, while others of us have one foot in each world and as they each pull away from us our legs slowly descend into a painful involuntary full side split position before eventually…what…we break in half? or fall into the void between the two worlds? and what might that space look like. can we perhaps set up some type of shelter down there and just sort of squat together as a growing community of disenchanted outsiders? i’d be up for that. (no cars allowed, of course).

salvation

© 2012 S. D. Stewart

Rage simmered and eventually overflowed in the library when I found only two of eight books on the shelf (Endgame and 77 Dream Songs [depicted as that glowing white brick at the bottom of the pile]). There was one Virginia Woolf book on the fiction shelves. One! Do you know how many the library owns? 22!! When I harassed the librarian about the library’s practice of storing books out of public view without indicating their status in the public catalog she shrugged off my indignation with some syrupy party line about the many hundreds of thousands of books in their collection and the sheer lack of space. “The general rule is if a book is five or six years old, chances are it will be in storage.” Yes, I understand the need for storage when you have such a meager number of shelves devoted to fiction in a library serving a population of over 600,000 people! But please, for the love of everything that is decent in the world, the least you can do is flag the books in the catalog that are not on the shelf! I cannot assume a book is in storage and go directly to the desk because what if it is not…then I look like an ass. Besides, the librarian in the Humanities Department always checks the shelf anyway. Not to mention the tragic loss of browsing capability. I don’t always know what books I want. I want to handle them, to caress their covers, to whisper sweet nothings into their bindings. When I brought this up it was met with a vacant stare and an empty smile. So much for a user-centric attitude.

leaving the house was a big mistake

Now, I could provide an extensive explanation of why today was a complete and utter disaster, but there would be no redeeming value in a post like that. Instead I will tell you why Bank of America sucks. Or at least one reason among the five million other ones that are already out there floating around. Today I attempted to go to a new (to me) branch of BOA that, during a recent run, I had noted as being close to my house. So I ride over there on my bicycle, lock it up, and then discover that this BOA branch is a drive-thru bank only. Well, okay, I think, I will just walk over and get in line behind these five cars and wait my turn in the drizzle. I wait and wait, and then when I finally get up to the drive-thru teller, she tells me that she can’t serve me because I am not inside a vehicle. Whoah. The appropriate expression of frustrated outrage immediately spreads across my face as I brusquely reply with the question of, “Well, then, where is the closest bank that I, as a pedestrian, am permitted to patronize?” Down the street, she says. Back on my bicycle I get then, and ride my way down the street through the rain. Having already endured multiple setbacks since beginning my quest to do something productive with the day, my irritation with this one felt more like a blunt object hitting the back of my head multiple times in slow motion than the rapid-fire bee stings and snake bites of earlier in the day. Here is the issue at hand, though: several years ago, I lived in a town that had the same type of BOA branch, where only the drive-thru lanes were open. And every other week I walked up to them with my paycheck and was warmly greeted and served by the tellers. So obviously this is not a BOA national policy. The only possible explanation I can think of for not serving a walk-up customer is that it’s a safety issue. However, if I were to, say, decide to point a gun at the teller and demand all the bank’s money, I’m fairly confident that I would have a better chance of escaping in a car than I would on foot. Maybe that’s going out on a limb, but I’m willing to go there. So not only does this policy make no sense, it is also discriminatory, in that a person who cannot afford a car or chooses not to use one is prohibited from using this particular bank. Now, as a virtually full-time bike commuter and pedestrian, I have often felt discriminated against in this car-centric society we live in here in the good ol’ USA, but I have to say that this one today totally blindsided me. To live without pessimism in this type of hostile environment is a near impossibility. And with that, I will retire to my bed with a book, having turned my back on this day and the forces within it that have worked against me so tirelessly.

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