Tuesday, April 18, 2006

This = The Life 


I'm writing from a Barnes and Noble balcony, enjoying my first try at wireless, vanilla latte at my side. It's warm up here above the midweek bustle of CityPlace. Warm, and just quiet enough amidst the world.

At the table next to me, two earnest greybeards debate the meaning of life in their heavy euro accents; two down, a trio of overtanned students study and chat, wasting their $3.95 fiddling with their iTunes playlists. I identify with both, feel young, and feel wise.

Down below us the traffic zips by. The Gap turns off its lights. Florida begins to wind down for the evening.

It's been 89 and humid here in West Palm Beach, which is a bit above our family tolerance. But we've been making the most of it. Yesterday, early supper with my Grandfather, almost 91 and still going strong in his retirement villa; today, four hours in and out of the car at Lion Country Safari, a perfect dry rub on a row of St. Louis Ribs at Tom's Barbecue.

CityPlace is our saving grace, our latenight haunt. In the dark the antique streetlights glow like our skin after a day in the sun. The fountains burst forth in ballet on the hour and the half hour, thrilling the little ones. Willow grows fearless, leaning over the cement barriers into the spray, dancing into the night among the startled, smiling crowds. We stand in line for ice cream, prompt the ever-cheerful Cassia to wave at the crowds of cooing old ladies. It's hard to imagine the kids happier, really.

Cassia Meets the Ocean, and It Is GoodWe hit the beach a half hour before sundown, and get the place almost to ourselves. Cassia shrieks with glee at the waves, won't leave the water's edge no matter how forcefully it tries to bowl her over; Willow inches into the deeper waters, rolling with the tide, and comes up grinning every time. I swam out as far as I dared into the rough tide tonight, the water bathwarm and tart on my lips, and waved at them there on the shallow surf with Mama to show I was okay.

I'm more than okay. The yearbook's done, the school year almost over. My back feels better than it has in years. The dark jeans, black shoes and crisp blue-and-white checked shirts I prefer for their comfort mark me as one of the best dressed down here: quite accidentally, of course, but being well dressed in the crowds makes me feel like the world is in its proper place.

Now the kids slumber safe back at our rented Cuban villa with the wife in a bed once owned by J. P. Morgan. They're tired out, and I'm tired, too. We're missing the full bloom of our garden back home, and who knows if the new seed is growing into lawn in our absence. I spent the last leg of our flight down covered in apple juice and ice. The kids are rashy in the heat, and Darcie wilts visibly by midday.

But it's my night out, the night is still young, and I'm ogling the comedy club across the way as I wind the typing down. This is the life, and it's the sour that makes the sweet taste so good. Florida, I raise my paper cup to you. Enough with the blog -- I'm here to live.

posted by boyhowdy | 8:44 PM |

Hi Josh (Can I call you Josh?),
Hi, this is Colin Raunig, I was a student in your media literacy class at NMH in the spring of 2003. Now I am a junior at the United States Naval Academy. Anyhoo, for my mandatory (yet still exciting!...not) Electrical Engineering class, we have to do end of the semester presentations. My prof gave us a list of topics that I never really heard of because I'm really not that computer or technologically saavy. The first thing that came to mind when I saw "Bluetooth" as a topic was Mantooth, the guy from "Anchorman" and the dreaded snaggle-tooth. I suggested doing the sociological affects of the internet and he bit.

I still have the "Amusing Ourselves to Death" book and Seabrook's book on the internet, which I have been parusing (is that a word?). I also checked out that link you have to a Time magazine article and checked out some books in the library. I'm having trouble honing in...as you might be able to tell by this really long post. Some questions...

Why do you think the internet is so prone to compulsive use and what do you think is the continual draw to be online, even when there is nothing in particular to be on for? Is it the desire to escape reality, to create a virtual identity that is free of the bounds of face-to-face communication? What is it about spending time on the internet, when compulsively used, can add up to hours a day, that doesn't seem like "a waste of time" but I say that I can't find time to finish "All the King's Men" (I've been reading it since Christmas) because I say I have too much homework to do? Is Facebook and MySpace equivalent to slot machines, where there is some desire or knowledge of sensual gratification by looking at someone's virtual profile or haivng someone blog on your profile that provides and feeds this compulsiveness?

I'm not too sure how well-thought out these questions are, but the direction of where I want to go with this presentation is too well known. If you could guide me in the right direction or offer any advice, I would appreciate it. My email is: m075466@usna.edu. Thanks for your time and sorry about this long post.
Very Respectfully,
Furthermore, do you think societies compulsive use of the internet is cultivating a different style of thinking or moving through life, as in affecting our need to move vertically or linearly through time to manage our daily tasks and replacing it with the horizontal movement that is present online?
Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening