Sunday, November 28, 2010
Have come almost to the end of The Master and his Emissary, which came as a bit of a surprise to realize that I'm towards the end of the last chapter. I thought I was only four-fifths the way through, but there is that thick a section of Notes & Bibliography to follow, which I would like to go through, the Notes anyway. One thing that was bumming me out the other day (there was this perfect little maelstrom of discomfiting impressions that put my mood asunder) was reading McGilchrist's dystopian scenario of what the world would be like if it were run exclusively according to left-brain values & ways of seeing the world. He wrote the section in whatever the grammatical case is called - in hypothetical "woulds" - and he himself knows, and acknowledges as much, that we're not so far, in places, from that brave new world. The thing is, as I immediately personalized my reading, it read as an abstracted account of the five-year miserable tenure I'd had working in the Roman Empire's citywide office of urban planning. It had the left-brain ways down to a tee, enforced by an entrenched civil service staff, free-thinkers rooted out methodically over the decades, an agency less about "planning" (as I had understood it and been attracted to the field in my graduate studies) and more about being the government arm of the all-powerful real estate interests in the city. I was just too naïve to be there, and I was a salmon swimming upstream. I did do some very nice work that I'm quite proud of to this day, writing a series of reports documenting various aspects of a tiny Bronx island's maritime history (I did it as a series of narrative reports, not these all broken down jigsaw puzzle pieces that get cobbled back together into an official "report.") My studies then led to something called a "contextual" rezoning of the island (McGilchrist notes how left-brainers abhor context - so the effort was tipped off to them by announcing it as such!). I'm going on and on, I don't mean to - but I lived it for a time, including trying to hold my own against truly one of the most odious people I've ever had the misfortune to work under, a cynical, unimaginative woman who wanted to control me completely and began to draft the outline of the report and even some of its conclusions before we/I had had a chance to do any real thinking and observation about it - but that's not what she was about. She and I had a HUGE blowout, and fortunately for some reason the Boss of both of us decided to let me have my way, and let me run with my little Bronx island ball and do as I liked with it. She & I never spoke to each other ever again and we were two cubicles apart.
The reports got researched by me (entailing long wonderful fogbound afternoons at a little historical museum at the edge of the Sound - bliss!); written; hemmed & hawed over mercilessly by the agency's "village elders" (read: guardians of the ideological status quo); and finally - after two long years - "released," that is, in agency-speak, published. Then I spent another two years in the borough office in a professional effort to try to implement some of the recommendations indicated in my preliminary report.
Anyway, let's just say that (except for sporadic short-terms gigs here and there) I haven't worked since. The whole time I felt like a salmon swimming upstream, I simply didn't understand the mindset at the agency. And I don't mean to sound ungrateful to extremely helpful, supportive, sweet, understanding souls - people who saved my ass frankly, because my Gestalt is All, technical skills zilch. Truly they were Angels, in every sense of the word, and I know that my efforts were very much cherished and valued by quite a number of people. That said, I still wasn't in the mainstream, in the flow, and that was very difficult, to be constantly pushing - advocating - in an agency that wasn't about advocacy.
Oh my darlings, can't you tell that I would much rather lie down in front of a warm fire with you and chat and laugh about such things, and especially to hear about your day, and about your life, and then to kiss and make out if we wish, or simply doze, or whatever?
And then maybe I'd make you a pissaledière.* That's one of the songs that cracked me up on my drive down to Dutchess County - someone wrote and sang a song about the wonderful French onion-anchovy-olive tart! One of my specialties, by the way, that I've blogged about in years past. Not that the song is about me. Or is it?
Darlings, everywhere, safe driving, and please - don't sleep with that iPhone. Love you. XOXO
Launching without proofing. Sorry, South Korea.
*Okay - came back with a factcheck - the song purports on the KZE playlist to be Peace in Here by one Randall Bramblett. I would swear that he was singing pissaledière. Seriously. Not just on today's listen.
Oh whatever. Darling, I'll make it for you sometime - however unlikely it sounds, it is delicious, I promise. And if you don't like it, then here, lean over to me my sweetest darling -