Thursday, July 8, 2021

Order Versus Disarray


There comes a time in life when one must throw out their stack of selected articles from New Yorker magazines saved from 2009 to 2019 along with half-read New York Review of Books and assorted must-read articles. The pile has been growing the way bacteria multiply. Organisms may be nesting between the pages.

I’m sure if I had read every one, I’d have long forgotten the content by now anyway. So, liquidation becomes easily justified.

When I was growing up my neighbor, Johnny K., had a hall closet filled with National Geographics. I thought the continent might tilt. Now I expect New Yorkers are balanced between the two coasts.

Hard to say what we retain over the years. A mere fraction, I suspect. I’ve been telling the same jokes for decades. It’s a good thing my friends weren’t listening to begin with.

As for political persuasion I can’t remember changing my stripes a whole lot since I wore my FDR buttons. I would hope my quasi-philosophical impulses have become more nuanced, less strident and more forgiving but I can also feel myself growing grumpy, impatient and despairing of the collective stupidity with anti-vaxers, climate-change deniers, and mesmerized Trumpers in our midst.

2009 feels like yesterday to me yet has become history for my grandchildren, another thread in the grand tapestry, if they think in such terms which I doubt.

Now I’m looking at the spot where those old magazines used to call their habitat. It had grown into its own sequestered space, an appendage of furniture, now gone. I yielded to the voice of my betters who rank order and propriety over that scrupulously calculated mess I’d grown accustomed to. There’s nothing so tidy as absence. But life isn’t tidy. I prefer a fair measure of disarray. All rooms are living rooms; not for House Beautiful, a magazine I would have thrown out immediately.





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