10.24.2010

In the future, you'll spend a lot of time feeling like a dog leashed to a pole outside a grocery store

Douglas Coupland is a Canadian so when he says something completely in-your-face radical, it doesn't sting. It doesn't stink, either, which is what I first wrote. Well, to be honest, no writing actually stinks, even mine. But Coupland is like what philosophy could be if it weren't so pleased with itself.

My title quote is from his NPR interview, talking about his Radical Pessimist's Guide to the Next Ten Years. Seriously, read it. It's short, one page, as this is not a long-winded guy. Or don't if you prefer to get your information spoon-fed like a baby and yes I mean all TV news, not just Fox.

Remember Generation X? If you do, one of his tips is make sure you have someone to change your diaper. Okay, that's something you'd expect from a radical pessimist.

How about this? It is going to become much easier to explain why you are the way you are, due to structural and chemical functions of the brain. I like that, although I don't want to live in a world where too many more people go around explaining why they are the way they are. I live in California, after all. There's too much self-absorption, way too much, especially by people who have nothing to say but say it over and over again.

Another one: enjoy lettuce while you can. Yeah, I suppose any pessimist could predict the end of trucked produce with the probable success of the old energy technology monopoly completely squashing the green shoots of energy innovation.

How about this one: dreams will get better. No explanation. If you have one, please share.

My justification? My dreams are better (how about that for being self-absorbed? oh, just read on - I can't give an example I haven't actually experienced, can I?), being older.

My husband said, "You were crying in your sleep last night, did you know that?" I remembered transferring Burma VJ into my imagined REM vacation. It's good to empathize with other people, far away without a voice, trapped in a shitty country with no way out, though. I felt - feel - like I lived that experience. I woke up grateful for living in the United States, Tea Party rights-removers and all, and energized about working for people less fortunate.

My husband said, "You were laughing, too." I think that had something to do with getting revenge on bad guys, but that does nothing except make me feel good enough to get out of bed and make a difference, maybe, hopefully. When I was younger, my dreams all occurred in the same place, like same neighborhood kind of place, and they were always stressful.

So in that way, it is just better when you're older. You feel things more deeply but it doesn't feel like the first time, thank you Foreigner. You deal with whatever hits the fan because you've been sprayed before, better and harder, and you can use that hurt to help. It's not just me explaining the way I am. I'm no different - no better than anyone.