I have a strange enough mind under ordinary conditions but these days/weeks of ‘self isolation’ are making matters even worse. A strange habit has emerged – I suddenly think of a word and know that it is applicable to a certain situation that I am ruminating about. Ruminating is a byproduct of self isolation. Ruminate (think deeply about something: we sat ruminating on the nature of existence) Synonyms being: contemplate, consider, meditate on, muse on, mull over, ponder on/over, deliberate about/on, chew on, puzzle over; formal cogitate about. But ruminate was not the word that came to mind when I was chewing on and puzzling over and musing on how I change changed – there is nothing stagnant about me, that is for sure. The word that did come to mind was pliable – I have grown less and less pliable. Again, we will search for the word’s meaning. Pliable – easily influenced. Synonyms: malleable., impressionable, flexible, adaptable, pliant, compliant, biddable, tractable, yielding, amenable, susceptible, suggestible, persuadable, manipulable, receptive. ANTONYMS obdurate. There was a time, in the not altogether distant past, when I was malleable, suggestible, manipulable – usually in the pursuit of people liking me, finding me amusing, being popular. But somehow, something changed and nowadays a young man said: “I love the way you do not give a fuck about anything.” Ending his rapture with: “I think I love you.” Of course, and here is the irony about it all – if you do not care what people think of you, they like you more, probably even laugh at your jokes more. This obdurate behavior is definitely post London (2014-2017)
Speaking of London, I found a post card from the British Museum. Living on Coptic Street, half a block from the British Museum meant that a good deal of time was spent between its walls. I had this clever idea of getting a post card, then going to the room where the item was located and then musing on the back of the post card about the object before me. The post card will be pictured – it is Sculpture From the Parthenon. This is what I wrote at the time, it is not dated but it had to be 2015.
“This might be a failed experiment. I can’t find the Alexander head and this museum can sometimes be most confusing. I pick this post card because everyone has their head – I mean the two guys and their horse anyway. But it is warm and the noisy kids are getting to me. Back to air conditioning. Children in the British Museum – not working.- how boring for the poor kids. Not only for them but for their parents as well as the parents are dumb or the kids would not be here in the first place. But Disneyland is not the answer either. It is brain numbing and so focused on the most banal and trivial- dumb downed. The energy and the money that poor people expend on the endeavor – their Disneyland trip. The poor kids – they had to choose between college and Disneyland and their parents chose Disneyland. At least the British Museum is free.”
I read this and laugh like a fool. There I am with the works the Parthenon in Greece and I am musing about Disneyland. That is down right pathetic. I hope to find other postcards from this experiment that are more uplifting. This ‘experiment’ became the impetus of my book on the Tate Britain where Jessica and I would muse upon a chosen painting in each room in the permanent collection. There was a definite improvement – honest to goodness, no mention
is made of Disneyland in any of the writing in that book. I was planning to have a book launch from the roof garden of my apartment in San Francisco. Then along came the coronavirus, not public gatherings, no entrance to the roof garden. Oh well, it will be over some day and the books are timeless and quite beautiful.
At the moment I cannot imagine going out in the world again – I fear I may have adapted too well to this life of seclusion. It is far more age appropriate, let us admit it – than those days of glory surrounded by the Royal Family of Dubai in London, only a few months ago. It seems as far away as the Parthenon, the one in Greece.
Another word has come to mind – epiphany. The word seems to describe an experience of two or three days ago when I awoke with a feeling of absolute peace. So, of course, I looked it up to find the following definition ( the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12)
• a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
a moment of sudden revelation or insight.
There are no synonyms. There is a need to learn more about the experience before revealing it through the blog. The feeling remains, although not as powerful as the first day. I do have the sense that the self isolation is partially responsible and I am rather intuitive.
The photograph is of the post card that has the scribblings on the back.