American life resists introspection at every unholy turn.
Some flash! Some glitz! Check this out! Don’t you dare miss the next new thing!
Anything to avoid deeply considering.
We kill and then decry the cruel and nameless fates that “forced” us to. “Nothing to be done,” they’ll say in hushed tones, smirking and playing at reverence. Thoughts and prayers. Jesus take the wheel. Victimize one another then weep for the cameras when caught. “You know who the real victim is,” we say on the news or Facebook Live or Tic Tok, “it’s us!” We consider “responsibility,” and being held responsible, as a liability, a kind of systemic weakness — the mark of a sucker who just couldn’t get one over on the rest of the saps. As a society, we teach our kids lip-service shit we don’t actually believe they’ll do, and do things we’d never dare teach. We think and talk ourselves into a million untenable madnesses.
I mean, could we do all the things if we actually understood ourselves?
At the Albuquerque International Airport posters brag about, “310 Days of Sunshine a Year.” So you know rain, any rain — much less monsoon season — is good for a moment’s pause. The high desert rarely has more than enough water, and storms can be so brief, or — as with virga — so little moisture actually reaches the ground, that we’ll often just wait a few minutes instead of braving the rain. “It’ll probably stop in a bit.” And that time is absolute magic.
THE LOW GRUMBLE OF THUNDER, then, is my idiot’s prayer — my longshot-hope-against-knowing that there’s someway out of this…that all we need is a little time to sort it. This dark and desperate hope of mine is often confused for cynicism, but that’s too easy. The simple truth is I’m a dreamer, a romantic, who desperately wishes he wasn’t also such a realist.
Which is to say that, yes, I know that we probably can’t save THE world…but we might just be able to save our meaningless little corners of it. Yeah, by stopping for a while, by sharing space with those we love, by listening and remembering each other — waiting like drunken, laughing monks for the lousy weather to pass — we might just find what makes all the struggle worth it.