Friday, August 30, 2013
We started with rain – tiny splotches on the glass as I made my way to
to pick up the paperwork for Gene.
Illness has gripped our little world so tightly it is difficult to believe it is all real.
But we live in a world of illusion, of slight of hand, of wool over our eyes, and we have to make sure that what we see is not just something we want to see or are made to see for someone else’s benefit.
I kept thinking how near I came to blindness less than two years ago, and how some years seem to set the stage for the events of other years, mists forming not over our vision, but our thinking so that we carry the fog inside of us and never know what shall pop out of it.
I kept thinking of films like The Third Man during my wait on the viaduct, and how he faked his own death in order to escape the wrath of law, doing it daringly, in the open, so that he could continue his life of crime.
I like to walk the streets and alleys of Hoboken because of the film, On the Waterfront, and its constant reminder that evil lurks not in dark alleys or rough bars, but in the heart – and how we are always being deceived by Wizards who hide out in the open, not behind curtains as was the case with Oz, and that Dorothy is not all that less guilty than the two witches she slaughters.
We live with people who either have integrity or with those constantly trying to steal ours, and in the end, we relive scenes from old movies, clinging onto those characters we think reflect us best.
I tend to watch the same movies over and over, things like Casablanca – where the hero retains in his heart what he seems to lack, and Citizen Kane, whose hunger for power ruins him because he is rotten in the heart.
Good and evil are always at each other’s throats, and there is no guarantee that Rick will manage to win over against evil, or that Kane won’t get elected despite his ill heart.
I parked in a spot and did not have to pay the meter because we were working summer hours and I had arrived before the clock turned on the money machine.
Inside, the old building the memories were less acute. I remember the old place more distinctly because they seemed to stand out against the backdrop of this new On the Waterfront, where in recent years in the new building all the years and issues seemed to run together, losing focus, turning into mists that help disguise what really goes on in our lives or what is really important.
I don’t spend a lot of time there and even when I used to work there full time I often walked out by the water, seeking something real, something sincere, something I could feel against my skin.
These days, filled with disease, real and unreal, acute or superficial, we age inside a mist so that the years pass by quickly, almost painlessly, leaving us to wonder what film will reflect this era the way films like On the Waterfront or Citizen Kane reflected those eras, or has life simply imitated more devious films like The Third Man, where we are always wondering if the villain is really dead or dying, or is this just some trick he’s invented to make himself less vulnerable to arrest and scandal.
Orson Welles plays in both Citizen Kane and in The Third Man, in the first, his hunger for power is obvious, and it destroys him, in the second, he is just as hungry for power, but has learned to cloak himself, to fake his death when his evil genius grew too obvious and he needed to become someone else, someone invisible, someone new.
I drive up the viaduct again, heading down to Bayonne, to the other office that has become my home and refuge, recalling the film that was created there in my life time, where invaders from Mars broke up out of the ground in their stealth invasion, and how in the end, their own inability to deal with earthly disease became their undoing – and all human kind had to do to overcome their superior technology was to wait for the inevitable so that the meek could once more inherit the earth.