I feel kind of gross this morning, rather wiped out from the heat yesterday and overnight… I know that some people wouldn’t be caught dead taking assistance from government programs. I have a nephew who is too proud to even walk into a Dollar Tree. He buys his reading glasses for twenty bucks from a “regular” store. Another nephew of mine builds his own guns and has an arsenal of over thirty of them. The absurd vanity of some people blows me away. What do they have to be proud of but their cowboy boots, belt buckles, and big hats? And maybe the can of Kodiak wintergreen in their outing flannel shirt pocket. A bright Confederate flag for the front yard, perhaps. All this to the sound of New Country blasting from the black Dodge Ram. Usually I shrug it off and let it be, but I’m in a weird mood today.
I did a lot of dreaming about my neighbors across the street. In reality I don’t see them much, and now with the Coronavirus I don’t see them at all. The blinds in the front window are perpetually closed. It’s a houseful of women over there, Diana and her three daughters. I can understand if they’re feeling paranoid. Still, I would really enjoy interacting with them more— and then I remember my gender: I’m a guy. A lot of people make a sharp dividing line between the sexes. I guess I am unusual in not doing so. I grew up not distinguishing between men’s things and women’s things. I find that gender roles and stereotypes are mostly fictions made up by society. Not even psychologists are very perceptive of this artifice, but believe that men are men and women are women. Worse, they assume that men with anything feminine about them must be homosexual… I think my dreams about Diana’s family are innocent with a childlike innocence. What do babies perceive, I wonder? Do little boys want to put on lipstick? Do little girls want to use tools? Who’s to tell them otherwise? In my utopia, these distinctions of masculine and feminine wouldn’t exist. Everything would be free and equal, and what the baby sees is what the grownup would see as well.
Quarter of six. Why is my family so redneck? Their values are typically Republican, with a heavy emphasis on the working class. Or maybe I should ask why I’m not another redneck with them. Kate used to joke about her brother in law forbidding books in his house like a working class hero. James next door said that not one book was found in John’s house before James bought it.
Books are symbolic. Bibliophilic people are also intellectual people. Other symbols are eyeglasses and heads shaped like an egg. Those who scorn books may be the ones who dress in outing flannel shirts and cowboy boots and hats; who carry a can of wintergreen in a hip pocket; who drink Jack Daniels; and drive monster pickup trucks. Just as my family fell into one stereotype, I fell for another. It happened by imperceptible degrees when we were in school. Society tailored us to be what we are now. It even told you to listen to “Welcome to the Machine” by Pink Floyd— with a doobie in your hand. All the laws you can obey you can also break according to expectation. People do what is done already. We can even get addicted to alcohol and drugs at a signal from someone. It’s okay to do it because it’s been done before. Even Nietzsche has been done before.
When will people listen to the speeches of a new Zarathustra? But that person is you, dear reader…