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July 15th, 2003

Clueless

"Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself away"--old Cheap Trick song

The hurricane's effects made no difference here in north Texas, except perhaps our evenings are a bit cool for this time in July. I sometimes feel badly that inclement weather elsewhere can mean a pleasing rain here. I should see this as one more sign of the interconnectedness of things, and not take the angle that my burst of cool breeze is just a storm elsewhere, spent before reaching me.

Tonight I think about knowing and being known--of the sense that I have that I show so very much of myself to people; of the sense that I have that I rarely show myself at all. The two senses exist, and coincide, and complement, and contradict. I suspect they show less a mystical side in me than that my feelings don't always make sense.

I think I summarize life into neat boxes--plainly wrapped, perhaps, but satisfying nonetheless. It's not so much that I compartmentalize--that's far too complicated. It's more that I'm a bit of Hartmann luggage--sturdy, a bit declasse, traditional, almost fun to see rolling off the luggage carousel. I love that term--"luggage carousel". I wish there were a brass ring.

I think that the problem with self-obsession is that it's a bit like playing Clue about one's own life. I think I was Colonel Mustard, and I was in the dining room, with the wrench (and Heaven knows why, really). But wait! No, I was Miss Peacock, and I was in the library, with the gun. But no matter how many cards I acquire, when the "mystery kit" is opened, I gain very litle insight into my own mysterious mind. But that's the problem, isn't it? I'm not so much a mystery as a bundle of thoughts and feelings. I'm a redwire station--a rather routine side-rail electric transformer, wires askew, a bit malfunctioned, but still the only generator I have.

I went once to Wakefield, Yorkshire, with a friend, to search out obscure Bill Nelson albums and soak in an English town not famed for tourist things. I tend to believe that the best touring happens where the touring doesn't happen, if you see my meaning.

When we first got off the train, we went to a mailman and asked where the address for our bed and breakfast might be. "Haven't a clue", he said, in one of those rich, singsong Yorkshire accents we could barely make out. When I think of myself, lately, I must say "I haven't a clue", and I hope my inner voice has just such a charming accent.