met a journaler -
The day after the Sole Proprietor left I went out to the backyard to sit in the same chair he sat in to get some physical perspective on what it might be like to visit me, to see if I could sort of peek through the same lens. This is, in a sense, what we're doing when we read other people's journals, but this is also the hazard of meeting online journalers. Did he see something about me, about my life, my family, my house, that I miss? When he looked at Amy on the swings out there past the big tree did he link that view with a picture I've been sketching out in words over the last couple of years? Did they jibe? How's my framing been, my composition, my focus?
I imagined myself sitting across the table, some goofy squint on my face, trying to get words out of my mouth about democracy or photography or fence-building, only to be reminded by this little exercise of my rampant and persistent megalomania.
It is all about me, isn't it? What? What memo? You mean the scenario where I'm the only real person and everybody else is just robots doing cosmic theater -- that isn't for real?
Of course I care about how I appear to others. Of course I want to be well thought of, and match the image of myself I seem to project in this journal. But at the same time, something deep within me feels a truth in the phrase "What other people think of me is really none of my business." I suspect I will never find the middle ground between my desire for autonomy and my need for affection. Yes, I know, the devil is in the desire.
The desire to be well thought of increases when the thinkee has a high regard for the thinker, and Bob, well, you just look at his journal and you know here's a man who blends consideration with intelligence, enjoys the sweet and sour taste of irony, and it's a good bet that he doesn't suffer fools.
So yeah, Chuck and I invited Bob the Sole Prop down for a visit and we spent Sunday at an air show. Three graying guys with cameras and journals talked to one another. We poured our real personalities into the molds we've made of pixels and watched to see what spilled. The ingredients have set over the last several days and I'm here to tell you the recipe was a good one. Journaler Jell-O. It's tasty.
After the air show we headed for my place where we had a little food and drink that Viv had thoughtfully prepared for us. We spent the later part of the afternoon in friendly conversation of the sort that generally resides only in my wishes these days.
After Chuck and Bob had left for Burbank airport, Viv and I sat at our kitchen table and talked. We'd both noticed something -- a similarity between me and Bob, some of it physical, some of it in character, which is at once gratifying, humbling, and odd. Some of that inkling of similarity, however, may be due simply to the fact that Bob communicates about himself rather well and in doing so compels readers to recognize a bit of themselves in his take on life. That's his doing. And I won't presume to parallel his apparent and abiding kindness and grace, that's pure Bob.
But there is the thing with the pictures. He and I had a brief conversation about being photographers, the dynamics of getting people to trust us with a lens and such, but it was all too brief and served only to whet my appetite for more good talk with him.
I have much more to say about all of this, and I suppose I'm going at it a bit backwards, but again my schedule is ripe with distractions. School meetings, therapy appointments, homework. Laundry, groceries, stuff. But in the wings is the darkroom, already giving birth to some images that inspire words and remembrance. All in good time.
Meanwhile, there's Chuck. He seems to be on some sort of karmic roller coaster lately, and getting hit by a car a few days ago was definitely a corkscrew turn on that ride. He is receiving much due sympathy, and his coolness factor is on the rise.
When I was in third grade a classmate of mine, Steve Holt, was hit by a car. He lived. He was back in class a few days later, smeared with sympathy and attention and a new aura of coolness. It's the same coolness that's usually afforded kids who are missing a finger or have a dad who wears a black eye patch.
Unfortunately, young Master Holt could not get rid of the aura and was for the rest of his elementary school career known as that poor kid who got hit by the car.
And now Chuck, here in the infancy of web journaling, faces that same threat of premature and adhesive labeling. Surely you can see the danger here! But we needn't tiptoe. He courts peril with a wicked grin.
"Finishing The Hat" -- Mandy Patinkin -- STEPHEN SONDHEIM'S SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE: ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING
"Autobiography is mostly alibiography."
- Clare Boothe Luce