ColumnConscious life, hear me roar.
It should never be all that surprising when idiocy takes hold of a culture. We allow it to with every right we give up, every piece of fast fashion we purchase, every texted bastardization of the English language (YOLO!) and every time we wait in line at a Dunkin Donuts drive-thru too lazy to get out of our SUVs. It’s almost like we want mediocrity, a simplicity that makes life easier to understand in all its watered down glory. I like to call it the Dick and Jane complex and its tendrils are many and sticky.
Part minimalism and part some world-wide need to emulate everyone else, we’ve all started giving up our freedoms to express our Selves in cluttered forms. Clean lines equal the future we’ve seen in countless science fiction movies where we, clad in metallic unitards, hovercraft into our concrete living bunkers (designed of course by the newest breakthrough architect), are but cogs in some life machine recharging what little spirit we have left to give. Eat. Sex. Sleep. Work. We might want to ask ourselves if life has spun that far out of control that we need such cleanliness and structured rigor to feel in control.
Run Jane run.
Germs multiply even though we try and sanitize them from our existence. We see popular online venues, sites we’ve come to love and treasure turn to profit only pulling “community led” content to homogenize the information we greedily gobble daily. Those big men in high places have nailed the social media formula and given us clear Kool-Aid in plastic water bottles that we drink and suck from like pigs at the teet.
We don’t want anything to get old and tattered so we buy new at rock bottom prices at blockbuster sales. We lust after the smell of clean store, fresh plastic and strong cleaners to rid ourselves of the fact that we are a dirty species capable of dirty things. Of menacing things that are dark and never a shade of white. We don’t want to stray anymore because it’s so dangerous. Always staying within the lines. It’s Groundhog Day for the minimalist, for the budget price buster and for Jane. Nietzsche is laughing his ass off at us from the grave.
Live Jane live.
Mother Jones recently reported that “Americans now put in an average of 122 more hours per year than Brits, and 378 hours (nearly 10 weeks!) more than Germans.” Instead of sitting around campfires and in quiet places where we can have wild discussions of “I always wanted to…” or “next on my bucket list is…,” we are turning more towards our computers and bosses, entities that validate we are here because they greet us daily and we are told what to do. It’s all about purpose. Those bosses don’t want our opinions so much anymore. Our computers connect us to friends and family all over the world that no longer write us messy, handwritten letters or even call because it would take too long and time is money.
Feel Jane feel.
The past few weeks I have been scraping and priming and painting my home. Paint chips are everywhere and my arms ache at night from using them in ways they are not used to. I flop down in bed next to my husband who is just as tired and we laugh about the pain. All day long we are talking as we work making our mess, fixing the dry rot, missing some spots with paint and letting go the thought that we will finish the entire house anytime soon. It will surely take us all summer because of our hectic lives. It will give my husband and I more time to get to know each other again. Hear each other breathing as we work.
Love Jane love.
I sometimes imagine longer sentences in Jane’s books detailing her life. Some words are misspelled and are hard to understand. Jane isn’t always playing with friends but sits alone under trees sometimes to contemplate her life. Jane takes off her shoes and dirties her feet in the grass. She empties her pockets full of dried flowers. Jane picks up a stubby pencil and writes a poem. It is an ode to everything she knows is rich and wonderful and present in her life. Jane is me. Jane is you.
Between the Lines is a weekly column navigating the sometimes-sharp, sometimes-blurred lines of conscious life and culture between city and country, between inner worlds and outer.