Friday, October 28, 2011

Live everything

There's a crowd tonight, and they show me their IDs as they line up at my bar, hopeful eyes on me. So many of these kids were born in 1990.

The obligatory contingent of sexy/slutty costumed girls, but only three. There are wizards and nerds, Mexican wrestlers, and the guy in blackface is a black guy. Two blond girls tell me they're Mary Kate and Ashley.

The bands playing tonight do covers of Misfits and Gang of Four. I'm wearing the spiked collar I wore when Gang of Four was still touring, before most of these people were born. I'm dressed as myself of many years ago, plus devil horns, because why not?

My teenage self envies me, if she thinks of me at all. She certainly never expected to see this many years, certain of flaming out before reaching such advanced age. Dumb luck, I tell her, but she's moshing, she doesn't hear.

One environmentally aware kid at the bar doesn't want a plastic cup for water. Instead he crouches under the spigot, mouth open.

I love these people. Another kid petitions J about a benefit for Occupy SF. I just had the idea now, he says. He has the angels on his side.

There are nights when I like nothing better than this: pouring drinks and watching the crowd. I don't hear it when someone kicks a hole in the wall, but I do see the kid who booked the show. The room is almost empty by now. His cheeks are red beneath his blue wizard hat, and he keeps saying he can't believe it. Nothing he says will un-kick the wall, he's on the hook for the repair, and the injustice of it all pops the air around his head like cartoon swears.

I should have some way to end this post, some exit strategy, but that's it. Bar packed up, drunk kids roused and sent home. There's no knowing how many more nights there will be like this, and every thought in my head is a question. I'm trying, like Rilke counsels, to " patient toward all that is unsolved in [my] heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms," he says, "and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue."

And what the hell, that guy knew how to put words together, even in translation it comes through:
 Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.


sage said...

A few years ago my sister heard something at church which she shared with me. "Live in the question." It's much easier for me to live with questions than to need answers. It's easier to live in questions than in answers. I like my questions better than most people's answers.

Geo said...

After a lifelong struggle with figuring out how to approach spiritual study, I've finally found what works for me—a morning ritual of praying, reading, and searching till I manage to find one good question. Then I am satisfied I can make it through the day because my heart is burning with asking.

Blackface on a black face. Wish I could have seen and loved that in person.