Sunday, November 16, 2008


After all these years, I'm surprised that I can come into a WiFi coffee house anyplace in the world and make an entry on my blog. I don't why I should still get this jolt of electricity when I experience connectivity, because I first used this four years ago when I took my jaunt around the US just after retirement. I dropped into coffee houses and university libraries all over the States and made entries to AINT NO gOD.

The Dragonfly is a corner espresso joint in Portland, in the Alphabet District here at the corner of 24th & Thurman Street. I just came from a meeting of the HGP (the Humanists of Greater Portland) where Robert Sanford presented a very interesting digital photo show of his Spring trip through the Balkans. Let me assure you it was not your family vacation show. It displayed depth and humor and information.

Robert's presentation made me aware of my issues with identity and self-esteem. Seriously, at age 71, I should be over it, but I'm not. Robert stands over 6 feet tall and is imposing. An ex-cop and English teacher, he made me recall that taller men do better in our culture than shorter men in general. Also, he's urbane and knowledgeable. Many humanists are. If our little group is any measure, humanists are also financially better off in general. I felt my insignificance in the world. I felt a lot like I used to feel back in college when I made myself a general nuisance just to make sure that everyone knew that I was in the room. Displaying my imitation of the mad genius, I made more enemies among the cultured than I did friends. I can see now that humility would have served me better and a redoubled effort to master the subject of Literature. The depth of my personality disorders are now evident to me. Perhaps I've done as well as one can do, given my circumstances—a kid of the working class in a world of intellect. Master of no subject matter, I felt eclipsed by literary scholars and strove to become the master of some type of knowledge, yet detail bores me unless it's part of an interesting slide show like Robert's slide show this Sunday morning at Friendly House. God, those days were painful! I just felt a touch of it this morning and I don't want to return to those states of mind again.

The false front of my alcohol recovery was, I now see, another front. Though my knowledge of the recovery process is pretty detailed and interesting, it is not interesting to the world in general. A man like Sanford is more sought out. And I'm okay with that. I'm not being defensive, though, if my past is any example, I could easily be defensive. A sign of more progress? Yes. Whoopee!

Here, at the Dragonfly, I'm also surrounded by people who have done well in the world or who are trying to achieve in this world. A three story frame condo in this district can go for 500,000 dollars and up. All the women around here are interesting. They dress well and wear tight jeans and nice sweaters and blouses open at the neck. Even their hats are interesting. I don't know how to describe what I'm seeing, but I know I'm seeing wealth and culture displayed, and I still don't have the words to describe it. But I know what I'm seeing. If anything, it's in their faces. They are intelligent faces, whatever that means. Or is the intelligence in the eyes? Or is it the self-consciousness of their demeanor that tells me they've very aware of their surroundings and their place in it? In short, am I looking at people just like me when I entered the world of culture and money? If so, I missed the mark a long time ago and failed miserably to calculate my own worth. I can see where F. Scott Fitzgerald was coming from, can't I? When he said the wealthy were different.

Well, I've displayed myself pretty brazenly in this entry, haven't I?

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