Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The ghost of Descartes asks again in the dark, "Oh, how could I have been so wrong?"

And, guess who has been experiencing delays and lost luggage again. That's right, your intrepid hero. Delayed in Wichita, delayed in Chicago, made it at JFK, but my bag didn't get on the flight to Dubai. They are supposed to be here in about 45 minutes on a later flight, if they don't, I guess they get shipped. So, we'll see how that happens.

I went and saw I Am Legend over break, and I watched 3:10 to Yuma on the Emirates flight over here. The first, I initially didn't like how they entirely changed the ending, then the more I thought about it, I liked the way they changed it, just not the way they executed the change. It felt half-hearted, like a studio thing tacked on because whatever the director wanted to do "wouldn't sell." I think if the theme had been more developed throughout the movie, I would have liked it more. Now, 3:10 to Yuma? Fantastic movie. I watched it because I like Westerns, and I am a Christian Bale fan. But the movie was just terrific. The protagonists were real characters, the villains a little caricatured, but overall, just terrific exploration of the themes and the characters' lives. It just came out on DVD in the states, if you haven't seen it, SEE IT. I can't say enough good things about that movie.

There has been a lot going on in my head recently, a lot of things I saw and observed while in the U.S., things I've seen and heard on the way back, that are rattling around in my head, fighting to become a real essay. I'd try to start typing it up now, and we'd see where it would go, but I'm not sure if there is any actual substance to my thought process.

Instead, I wrote up two little short stories while sitting in the Chicago airport that I will share with you. Here they are, appearing in print for the first time anywhere. Inspired by the bizarre things people wear, or odd parallels I saw.


Then, there's guys like Stephen. The kind of guy whose grandpa gave him the coonskin cap that Stephen's dad had long ago discarded, probably sometime during highschool in the sixties.

At age 15, Stephen supposes that this is some kind of ironic metaphor on the cyclical relationship between father and son. Stephen wants to study literature in college, and particularly thinks thoughts like this after overdosing on the New York Times book review page. Stephen already has the vocabulary down, even if he doesn't have the ability to use it.

The coonskin cap became a prize possession to Stephen, a kind of warder against the encroaching growth of a society increasingly concerned with the latest new thing, a kind of reminder of the transitory nature of popular culture.

Stephen wouldn't have written this down, so I had to do it for him. He may thank me in 12, 13 years, if he ever recognizes himself in this brief sketch.

Trans-generational Ear Gear

There lies a curious symmetry between the two Bluetooth-headset-adorned travelers. One, clearly an early-twenties, bleached blond college girl, on her way to a semester of learning, fun, and airborne pollen allergies. The other appears to be some sort of businessman, perhaps in industrial packaging sales, or maybe a forensic accountant for hire. Have adding machine, will travel.

Each one exhibits the cliched behavior of their respective demographic markets, with one exception that becomes all the more shocking for its commonplace nature. Indeed, if a hundred thousand conversations were monitored at this airport in one day, the monitor wold be hard-pressed to find two other conversations discussing competitive ambidextrous dart throwing.

The case the man is carrying could, just possibly, just maybe, hold the newest craze in the ambi-dart world, the asymmetrical CrossHatch 5000, the newest, most difficult practice board for ambis with asymmetric eyesight problems.

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