About A Time vs. The Time
I’m not particularly old. To be honest, I’m not exactly a spring chicken either. This puts me in a position to understand the perspectives of the bright-eyed and the weary, all the while still setting aside enough time for the slow crush of my dawning midlife crisis.
I have sort of a simple goal. I don’t want to be the crusty guy that says, “Back in my day things were different. It was a simpler time. People weren’t so crazy. Values. Morals. Gents opened the door and there was a thing with sugar and the neighbors.”
Also… I don’t want to be the guy that wears shorts a little too often, the one that reacts to everything like it’s a sign of impending doom. I’m actually listening to a few Bastille songs right now in anticipation of the record’s full release (which I’ll be reviewing) and they have a song called “Doom Days” where they point out how horrific things are. I don’t know how serious they are. Could be poetry or a different meaning I’m missing. I mean, they make tons of money to play songs for people that overinflate their importance—things can’t be all that bad for those guys.
Anyway, the song got me thinking about how almost everybody, young and old, thinks this is THE time. The end of the way things were. The beginning of Armageddon. I am the chief offender. I set up a box outside my downtown apartment, raising hell and preaching heaven, depending on my mood.
No. I don’t actually do that. But sometimes the urge starts to pull at me.
Okay. So, things change, we react. It’s natural. Sometimes it’s justified. Sometimes it’s probably just a waste of time.
There’s a line in the first season of True Detective, when Woody Harrelson is talking to his father-in-law. The old man is going on about how kids are degenerating and the world is going down in flames. Woody says something about how every young man has had to listen to an old man say the same thing since the beginning of the time. There’s some truth there.
And back to the freaking out that younger people do. (I say young people, but it’s a generalization) I hear sweeping statements about how humans can’t be civil anymore. The internet is shining a light on all the evil that nobody knew about before. The dangers are everywhere. We couldn’t see them before, but now. Big time. Danger.
Let’s break that down.
To a certain extent, the pace of the world probably is speeding up in an unprecedented way. But as far as being scared or nervous—I was born at the end of a forty-year Cold War, where nuclear tennis was an existential threat on the daily—morning, noon and night. Before that, nothing much. Just a few World Wars and some pandemics that wiped out giant swaths of the population. In relation to all that, the internet seems pretty innocuous.
I’m not downplaying. Nor am I sounding a trumpet. It’s a time. But it’s not THE time. Unless you’re in love or had a kid or bought a sailboat or whatever. Then it’s totally The time. For you.
For the rest of us, we’re all adjusting, like always. Some are good adjusters. Some suck. Most are both or one or the other, depending on the day. It’s all understandable. Let me offer some ripped-off folksy wisdom before I trundle down the dusty road. Don’t spit into the wind. And don’t go getting riled up at any old thing.
I feel like I should be smoking a pipe.
That sounds good, actually. I’m going to the pipe store. Nothing like picking up a brand new, old-fashioned habit. Synergy. Not even sure what that means… but it feels right.
Cheers. See you after.