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Dreaming the Essential

I had a dream last night. 

I was playing tour guide for a group of blue hairs on a bus.  We were driving past some kind of world’s fair – it looked pretty fantastical with all sorts of shiny, colorful rides and futuristic buildings.  I was being fairly glib, keeping the gals entertained with chatter, when we came upon what looked like a flea market. 

So, I shared the following insight: “You ever go to a flea market and come upon one of those booths that is absolutely crammed with junk – useless things that no one really needs?  Things long past their prime?  Maybe the booth has three pristine pieces of great value, but you would never know it because you can’t see beyond all the garbage?  Yeah… I’m a lot like that.”


So, it’s got me thinking: Is there any truth to that?  Is it just me or is it something we all do with our lives?  Do we cover up – accidently or subconsciously – that which is valuable about ourselves with non-essential subterfuge?  Does all that floating mind debris serve as some kind of protection?  Distraction?  Procrastination device?

I think about what passes for news these days on my local morning show; sound bites doled out that are little more than commercials.  Does the fact that Hardees has a new chicken sandwich really all that newsworthy?  Or is it because Hardees happens to advertise on the channel during those hours when the station runs re-runs of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and the like? 

Yeah, we all know the answer to that one.

And what about celebrity ‘news’?  Does Kanye and Kim really matter to anyone other than Kanye and Kim and those that make their living perpetuating that whole media scam? 

Opting out is easy.  Turn off the damn T.V.   Go on the net and get your news, right?

But wait… it’s not any better on the net. 

Huffington Post knows that in order to get to read their horribly biased piece on the latest Republican led atrocity they need to also offer you that tantalizing bit about the topless book club in New York, or the latest on Rhi-Rhi’s panties as a sidebar. 

And what about that new chicken sandwich at Hardees?  Shouldn’t we check that out?  And those K-Cup machines… I could use one of those.  And what about the Wal-Mart challenge?  I’m thinking that’s something I’m up for…

And so our minds, bodies and lives become inhabited by whatever flotsam drifts into our path, and all that junk ends up obscuring for ourselves and others what is truly important about whom we are, what we have to offer, and what our lives should be about.

I often wonder if my desire to see concerts, listen to new music, see that cool indie flick or British sitcom isn’t my way of never getting to the heart of the matter and getting on with what it is I’m here to do.  At what point do we stop hoarding such experiences and begin downsizing the amount of cultural refuse we allow to take up space in our already overtaxed minds?

I find myself frequently frustrated to the point of anger when the dogs are barking and the television is blaring and dinner needs to be made and I really should be getting the laundry in the washer and the dogs should go for a walk and why am I out of milk and where is my spare car key and that life insurance premium was to be paid on the first is sitting on the dining room table still and Mother’s Day is coming up…

So, I do end up opting out.  I surrender.  I sit my ass on the end of the couch and allow it all to eat away at me as I distract myself with some blog featuring photos of really hot men, or google+, or a rerun of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’.   

It’s all a distraction, one that actually aggravates the problem rather than solving it. 

Religion does the same.  So does anonymous sex and some relationships.

So does blogging.

What is essential?  What is important?  What is germane?

So tonight, I’m going to resist checking my phone, checking the web, turning on the television, etc.  It will be hard because I achieve a weird kind of comfort watching an episode of ‘Family Guy’ while eating a bowl of raisin bran right before I go to bed.

Of course… that might explain my weird dreams, too.   


Bruce Chang said...

Well, I sorta look it as an extension of the post-modern collapse of the commercial into the bohemian/cultural/whatever... Next evolution after Andy Worhol. And we can either celebrate it and then change it or fight it and ignore the precarious relationship between art and economics. I'm not gonna idolize the starving artist anymore,... But what I'm really trying to say is that I'm quite fond of you both as a stud on the prowl and a romantic lover... And both can coexist in the same guy without one being more real than the other. Glitzy Fizgerald and raw/rough Steinbeck are contemporaries so why not?

whkattk said...

Of course we get distracted by things. If we spent 100% of our time occupied by what really matters, our brains would short circuit in a very short span of time.
We make a difference where and when we can...

BlkJack said...

I have to agree with both Bruce & whkattk, I, to, get lost in things and often can't find myself, but eventually do. I am also quite fond of the old and new you.