May Day

We closed on our condo 5 years ago today. Eek!

Here’s a bunch of stuff that doesn’t add up to anything, but it’s what’s been on my mind for the last few hours. Someone at lunch was talking about how being an American now feels like being a European in the 20th century: watching economic and political power shift westward (except we’ve wrapped back around to the East…), hugely devalued currency. It’s probably overstating things. But still it got me idly ruminating on the train home about how fragile all the great big political and social machinery really is, and how all the kids for 50 years have been so keen on ripping it all down. But it’s even sad when Darth Vader dies, because he seems like he was a nice old man, even though it’s hard to forget that he blew up planets and choked people with his mind. (But I wasn’t really thinking about Darth Vader until now.) What I was really thinking about was about all those books like Persepolis and Doctor Zhivago about how during civil wars and revolutions normal life slowly gives way to deprivations and atrocities, one at a time, until they don’t seem weird anymore. And as I got off the train at Davis, I was thinking about any number of things that could cause (another) civil war in this country, and what that would be like to live through, and whether not I’d stay a civilian. And I wondered if I was more like a Strelnikov or more like a Zhivago. I think I wish I were a Zhivago but am probably more like a Strelnikov, the nice idealistic true-believer Communist (who I have trouble picturing as anybody other than Tom Courtenay, even though I really try to keep the pleasant-but-misses-the-point David Lean film separate from the awesome book) who ends up being kind of bloodthirsty, bombing villages from his armored train car for almost no provocation. But the more I thought about it, Zhivago is a monster too, he’s just a private monster instead of a public monster, and then I started arguing with Marco in my head about Marat/Sade, and then the whole thing just made me tired.

Spring is slow to come up here in New England, and it is only this week that there are blossoms on the trees and a fully living carpet of grass. On the walk home, in the twilight, there were two guys in the ballpark flying a really great radio controlled helicopter.It was just starting to get dark, and the helicopter was hovering just above the grass, with these little winking landing lights on the underbelly and the tail. It made me think there’s still hope for us.