April 09, 2009

I think it's a bummer that when we describe something that was amazing we say, "it was almost unreal." "It was like in a movie or something." "It was like it was fake."

This goes for sights and sounds and events and conversations, things we see on the street or in the sky, things we think are amazingly good and things that we think are amazingly horrible. But it's mainly the things we think are amazingly good that I'm addressing here. Because it means that we think things that are really beautiful are incompatible with our own lives, that our actual lives are the domain mostly of e-mail-checking and awkwardness, and anything that goes beyond that feels as though it belongs in someone else's more glamorous life, or a TV show, or a song.

I can't remember who I was talking to exactly, I think it was some friends who'd been to Europe, and we were comparing exotic-trip notes (mine are pretty limited) and we all noticed the same thing: Americans abroad, among the legitimately awesome and historical, and the really beautiful stuff we couldn't help feeling like it was Disneyland. Like it was fake, a copy, even though it couldn't get any more authentic. And there's no denying that the sights themselves were authentic, it was just our presence, our seeing them that made them feel artificial. Like, if I'm allowed to see this, it must be cheap. These eyes have also seen my room back home with all my name-brand clothes all over the floor, and these eyes have also taken in an entire "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" marathon on MTV. Anything these eyes can take in must be a little tainted and downmarket. Nothing cool ever happens to me.

It bums me out that we think special stuff is reserved for other people, or worse yet, that the really beautiful is the province of fiction. I like to think that if we make ready for adventure, we might start to see it everywhere. I like to think that if we demand it, we might actually get it.

I want to look at the moon in the sky over New York on a really clear night, seeing every little detail of it hanging there, and not think "It looks unreal." I want to think, "This is life, and the world, and we see and do the amazing all the god-damned time."

Posted by DC at April 9, 2009 02:32 PM
Comments

I agree!

Posted by: Tim Manley

Thanks, I needed this.

Posted by: Donald Shelton

but dont you see the wonderment in stepping outside of the everyday or mundane and seeing such things. i think its amazing when i see something i haven't before and embrace the feeling of "this feels surreal." it doesn't make ordinary life any less special, just punctuates the amazing even more so. i love the unreal because it does exist all around you just have to find it or see it and experience it.

Posted by: andrew

Have you ever been the victim of a violent crime? That cuts the same way. It seems so small and unimpressive. Gone in a minute and the perp is never as hard or as scary or as cool as they look in the movies. The acting isn't as convincing.

Posted by: D. Moe

ummm....a real world/road rules challenge marathon is the COOLEST thing that could ever happen to you. like duh.

Posted by: alecia

ps i like this post and i'm so glad your comments work again now! well they've probably worked for awhile, but i'd given up and hadn't tried in a long time. props, brah.

Posted by: alecia

you should collect thoughts like this in a document titled Four Horseshoe Crabs in the Sun. Or Wigwam of the Apocalypse. Your choice.

Posted by: Andrea

you should collect thoughts like this in a document titled Four Horseshoe Crabs in the Sun. Or Wigwam of the Apocalypse. Your choice.

Posted by: Andrea

(welcome to the future to me: I apparently commented twice.)

Posted by: Andrea

And one of [the brain's] functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary and turn the unusual into the usual.

Because if this was not the case, then human beings, faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing big stupid grins, similar to those worn by certain remote tribesmen who occasionally get raided by the authorities and have the contents of their plastic greenhouses very seriously inspected. They'd say 'Wow!' a lot. And no one would do much work.

-terry pratchett.

finally ordered that book you recommended to me. can't wait for it to get in!

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i like your blog.

Posted by: ADC

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