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Wednesday, 22 September - link

every day above the dirt

A friend's fifteen year old neice has serious kidney problems. Hospital, respirator, transplant-type kidney problems. Take a deep breath, imagine fragile tender closed eyes young friend I've never met stirring against sickness. And what can I do?

It throws all this life into high relief. So I strain hard for comfort and meaningful media making - fitting out a house to live in, and scrambling to stay on top of my homework. I'm so caught up in all the circus I've joined I don't look up and see the celestial stands surrounding me - millions of souls passed this ground prior, and now - It's enough to make a man pull over at the Libreria Christiana on Sepulveda and ask some questions of the cosmos. Except I can't really speak spanish, let alone spell it.

Today one of my film teachers called out to me, "Well I know you want to make everything digital" - sure I like to take all my notes and assignments in digital form. I don't even bother bringing paper and pen to class. Paper is beginning to freak me out - I can't throw it out, don't know where to put it, etc. I'd rather have everything on a hard drive.

But the risk of living digital, it seems to me today, is that digital living promotes an illusion - the illusion of flexible even living. Fitting everything into a database and playing with it. Ordering intimacy online. Scheduling meaning.

Fortunately life, biology, flesh seldom fails to demonstrate that we're still a bunch of vulnerable meatbags. Fingering buttons may be great fun, but mother nature wears a strap-on and that's a bigger feeling.

I'm trying to keep up with a sick girl I've never met. I feel for my friend. I wonder what I'm doing. My mind strays momentarily to "what if I die tomorrow? what good is school?" But then I remember I recently read Arthur Miller quoting Eubie Blake, a Jazz pianist who lived to the age of 100: "If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself."

This evening, I was chatting with Howard. He said, "Well, I count my extraordinary good luck with every day above the dirt." Every day above the dirt. Taking care of myself. Extending care to others, at least in my mind, made digital.

Posted on 22 September 2004 : 00:57
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.