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Confessions, confusions, constancies

Tuesday 6/13/23

I like seeing photos of men who are my age because often they look old enough to be my father.

It's impossible to substitute the word "chip" for "championship" and not reveal yourself to be a moron. The mask--if there ever was a mask--is inevitably lowered.

The other day when I was running the stairs, a college grad was coming them. She had her gown on. This woman was petite. Fit. She was wearing a mask. As a couple came down the stairs, they congratulated her.

Whereas, I, about to head back up the stairs, was thinking that here was a person who likely cannot think for herself, and will never able to think for herself, and that is not to be congratulated or celebrated. The four of us represented a revealing tableaux of these times in the contrasts between our attitudes and our standards.

There are very few people in the world of academia who are going to help you get better at thinking. What most of them will do instead is ingrain you in their limited thinking, and hasten you along to a life of repeating their failures.

Coming down the stairs today, there was a group of three people I would say were in their late twenties. They were all very large. That's not being cruel. They were.

I was wondering about the nature of this group. The woman and one of the men appeared to be boyfriend and girlfriend, but the other man also looked like the first man's replacement. As if he might tag in.

They took up a decent amount of space, and I tried to make my way along my route, without veering too much. The woman said about me, "He's hot," meaning because I was sweating so much. She simply voiced the observation within my hearing, like I was something in a window.

Also today: a large mother and her large daughter were going up the stairs in that most annoying way, when people cut across them diagonally. Go up straight, come down straight. It's far more considerate of other people.

The daughter was perhaps forty, but she also could have been thirty. Mother and daughter were making their way to the rail at the side. The daughter started cheering me on. "You got this," that kind of thing.

Why would one do that? I ask honestly and not out of cruelty.

I'm obviously not Grimace making a first, purple-y stab at having a day of fitness, because my doctor recommended that I finally do something. It's quite clearly a regular routine in which I'm embroiled.

I know the answer, in part: people want you on their level. They want to think that they're the same. In the same group as you.

Then again, I must be mindful to try to look at something from all possible perspectives. After all, people stand on the sidelines and cheer runners during marathons. A person may simply be wishing to offer encouragement to someone doing something they recognize as a hard thing to do. I would say that is how running stairs is viewed, generally speaking.

It just seems defeatist to me, though, and not so sensical, when someone struggling to walk up a few stairs says that to someone running them, because it suggests that they are also somehow in the know.

I am getting into a larger idea, though, because here I am calling out the comment, or at the very least I'm talking about it, when it was a positive comment that was made, and I am someone who produces awe in people with my work such that they are too scared to try to rise up and find the words "special" enough to say what they want to say, or feel that what they say couldn't possibly do the work justice and that their inability to speak as they feel they ought to would compromise or embarrass them. So mum does become the word. And that is a huge problem for me. It impacts my life in the biggest ways, really. Someone writes shit, and someone else can say whatever bullshit they want about it, no risk, and it's easy, because the work means nothing to them, and it's not like they really believe it's great. But that's praise. Then you have everyone praising something, though no one believing it. And that person gets money, and opportunities, and work, and a platform, fame, fortune, all of that. No one ever thought that what they said couldn't do what they read justice. It was just saying whatever shit about whatever shit. And that's easy. No stakes, no risk. No fear. No worries.

I had no issue with the woman. A lot of people do say this to me--the "you got this" thing. I guess I find it strange. But stairs are not novel nor all that "impressive" to me. They are a thing I do every day so I can be strong enough to do what I really do and withstand bad things being done to me. Withstand them mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and physically.

Many things go into those things. The stairs are a big part of that last area. If I have a heart attack and die, I will not be here to win this war against these bigots. I will not be here to make my art. I will not change this world. A person takes a pill, because it's what their body needs for them to keep going along. I don't really take pills. But I do what I need to do for me to keep going and, what's more, to become stronger. Stronger than anything anyone can imagine. Because that's part of this. My big this of what I am here for and trying to do. And what my art definitely has in it to do.

But at the same time, those stairs for me are but another everyday occurrence, a part of what you do each day. For someone else, it's taking the dog out, it's swallowing that pill. My stuff is just other stuff.

Yesterday on the stairs, a woman coming up them and laboring some, stopped at the halfway point, and just started laughing at me coming down. This "You have to be shitting me" laugh.

I am drenched and sweat is flying off of me. But still, to stand and laugh? It's that inconceivable that someone might run stairs? Is it really so absurd? That much beyond your ken of the feasible?

Then there was the man yesterday who had to have been 350 pounds. Again, I am not endeavoring to be nasty. That's what he was. I am describing something I saw.

He had shorts on, a compression sock on one leg, and this out-of-control rash on the other. He was wearing a T-shirt which read, in huge letters, Hold My Beer.

People are not good at making choices.

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