It’s 4:30 A.M. on a Tuesday
It doesn’t get much worse than this
In beds in little rooms
in buildings in the middle
of these lives
which are completely meaningless
-Counting Crows, “Perfect Blue Buildings”
I have 20 minutes to write this post and I feel like I could take the rest of my life. There’s a lot of pressure on today… not in my world so much as the world. Which in itself is a misnomer, because there are always more worlds, always more lives. Go to India, learn that we are not doing this thing once only for a one-shot deal. Everyone should be mighty thankful for that, because we’ve screwed this shot up pretty mightily. The humbling weight of history is almost all the gives me hope these days. No wonder I’ve been surrounding myself with the past and citing historical context for everything and watching movies about 1980 or 1536.
Americans always vote on Tuesdays. This decision was made in the antebellum years of the United States, with the winds of war looming on the horizon. A move was needed to unify the country, now and forever. Or maybe it was just more practical to pick a day forever. We’ve been living with it ever since.
Tuesday was named for Tyr, the Viking god of war, the equivalent of Mars, the Roman god for whom March was named. We are the Vikings, we are the Romans, we are at war, and we are not paying attention to history. We still believe in Empire and a God of War. And we honor this symbolism with making our most important, or illusory, decisions.
Maybe if we had been voting on Wednesdays all along, we wouldn’t be in this mess. It’s a little naive to think that, given the restrictions put all seven days on who we are able to pick from in the first place. But maybe it’s more naive to think that if you pour this kind of collective energy and symbolism into a specific day, it doesn’t stick at some point. It’s the first War Day in the Month of War. And this will, by all accounts, seal our fate for the next 4-8 years.
Maybe on 9/11, the US should’ve done something useful and declared war on Tuesday instead of terrorism. Declaring war on War, which is the same as war on terror, but perhaps we could actually defeat Tuesday. We know exactly where Tuesday is hiding. We probably have even less understanding of its motives, but at least we don’t have to blow up three countries to get rid of it. Congress already blew Daylight Saving Time into a day-eating monster; it can take out Tuesday just as swiftly.
And instead of renaming, we could just eliminate it completely and have a 4-day work-week, a 32-hour stint that can sustain the same levels of employment for the next three years that we have now. I’d happily donate my 8 hours so that we don’t have a full-scale Depression in the coming days and have to start an even bigger war, perhaps a final one, to try to dig out of it. Are you in?
I don’t really think anyone’s going to win today. The chorus of people with deafening cynicism about Obama is getting louder. Why hasn’t he taken controversial stands, outlined plans or policies? Why does he vote awfully meekly for someone with such vocal courage? I can continue to hope for upside and pray that he’s been sandbagging all along… that the first 100 days would feel like revolution from within. I can’t rule it out yet. But there seems a futility about this whole exercise. If he really weren’t in someone’s pocket, wouldn’t they just get rid of him? Would we really get to keep someone that’s up to the challenge?
But go, vote, hope. I will board my train and get a seat because so many people would prefer to stand in the middle of the train than sit at the front or back. I’ve been trying to discern a motive for this behavior (short of believing that Americans are obsessed with sitting) that makes sense. Why someone would rather stand up for half an hour around others standing just to be in the middle of the train. But I guess it’s explicable… a flight to the middle, toward the average, toward American ideals of pointless effort and uncontroversial conformity. One’s just that much closer to the exit, perhaps, ready to bail as soon as the wind turns. Even if there are twice as many people in one’s way.
Tyr dies in the end, along with all the other Norse gods in the Vikings’ own mythology. Chaos wins, takes over, runs amok over all those seemingly the most powerful and dominant in the universe. Eventually, some far off date after the devastation, there are the small glimmers of the budding of a new world. A big, painful jab at the reset button on a computer that takes quite a while to boot up.
Anyone got a version of Disk Defragmenter that works on this one?