Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The pen is back ...

I celebrated the completion of a huge work project -- the labors of nearly a month -- by eating lunch out. Chez Taco Bell.

Sometimes when I pull up to the drive-thru of such a place, I think of a column I once read by some delightful old curmudgeon. Never, says the man, does he ever go through the drive through. He stops his car, he goes inside, he talks to people, not a speaker-box and he eats his meal around other people, not in his car.

So today, I did likewise.

My order was about $6. Just for kicks, I calculated the percentage that I paid in taxes. Nearly ten percent. That would be, in Biblical reckoning, a tithing. Tithing belongs to God, not the guv'mint. The implications were disturbing.

How many times a day do we calmly hand over nickels and dimes, nickels and dimes, more nickels and more dimes, to the government,without any thought at all?

"I'm sorry, my son picked up your order by accident," said a Woman approaching the table where I was waiting for my food. "He just put napkins on the tray, he didn't unwrap anything."

I assured Her that I wasn't the least bit bothered. Then I pondered for a while on the society in which I live, where every stranger has now become a disgusting bag of germs in our eyes, where they actually wrap plastic forks in a coating of plastic in a restaurant such as I was in, lest the filthy fingers of strangers brush across them or their breath blow out a blast of baleful bacteria.

It wasn't so long ago that people ate out of communal bowls, shared the same Communion cup at church, even slept double in beds with strangers at roadside inns. Then again, people died young back then.

It is Schumann's 200th birthday today. Great composer. I listened to the melody of his composition for string orchestra and wondered about the precise moment when it entered his head. Was he munching schnitzel in some inn, on a rainy, cold night? Walking the street in spring? Or just sitting quietly in his study contemplating life?

Taco Bell is not celebrating Schumann's birthday. Their PA system is playing Stereo Mc's "Connected."

"If you make sure you're connected
The writing's on the wall
But if your mind's neglected, stumble you might fall
Stumble you might fall, stumble you might fall."

Perhaps Stereo Mc will be remembered in 200 years. Perhaps not.


Chase March said...

Good to see you back in the blogosphere. Congrats on finishing your project.

I really like that Stereo MCs song. Music is awesome at helping us that we really are connected. And with that thought, Happy Birthday Schumann!

Eastcoastdweller said...

Thanks, Chase. As I have mentioned, Facebook most often wins the battle for my attention these days, but there are distinct advantages to a blog, so I will not allow Isis to ever wither away completely.