Tag Archives: hope

Surplus

Was just thinking about a guy I went to high school with. Boyd. He was a cool cat; we had mechanical drawing class together. Anyway, he was into model aircraft as a hobby. I was into model railroad. We bonded for a short few years, satellites to each other’s planet.

Funny that I remember him by full name almost 30 years later. But whatever; hope he’s doing well.

Got me thinking about my chosen hobbies. Strange, but it seems I’ve gravitated to the exact same sorts of hobbies that didn’t exist until the post-war period after 1945. Model railroads. Model planes. Ham radio. Home electronics. Hi-fi stereos. Electronic music.

Really, these are all a product of the post-war suburban ethic, that part of American culture, that part of the American landscape, that’s only made possible by a life of planned stability, of suburbs and highways and open space. That dream of owning a piece of God’s green earth, of being part of a community, of having enough free resources to dispose of that we’re allowed the luxury of committing ourselves and our talents to things that aren’t immediately necessary for survival.

I can eat just fine without a radio. I can get around OK without building my own engine.

This is all part of the American Dream, strange as it sounds. I like radio for the engineering aspect, for the technical problems, for the creative solutions, for the edification that comes from learning so much about physical laws. But I understand my privilege: I have enough disposable income to throw at these pursuits. I have enough free time to dedicate to it. I have enough time to craft it, build it, use it, enjoy it, share it, talk about it, and go to meetings about it.

Really, it’s the modern equivalent of pruning bonsai trees; it’s the human hope that we have enough, make enough, own enough, and aren’t too hungry and infirm that we can spend a few hours a week to trimming a few leaves and keeping a fruit-bearing tree so small that it doesn’t bear fruit, and we don’t starve because of it.

That, that right there, is the post-war American dream. The stuff that so many of the books that I checked out of my junior-high library showed to me. That I can have a life where I can do things that aren’t necessary for survival, that aren’t crucial to the continued existence of myself and those around me, that are fun. Fun! That’s the Dream.

I think it’s in that vast, breathless hope, that I enjoy my hobbies. And now, in repose, I understand why I do this.

Know your causes.

Future Propagation

It’s massively unfortunate that amateur radio puts me in close proximity with doomsday conservatives and people who talk about zombie apocalypses as if movies were real. They talk as if knowing how to use a radio is a vital survival skill, right up there with firearms, hunting, and shelter.

When unlicensed people talk to me in the park while I’m operating, chances are that at some point they’ll mention the end times. Even some of my friends say, “when they come for all of us, you’ll be allowed in my bunker because you know radio.” They laugh, I oblige, but deep down, i still bristle at the connotation.

Believe it or not, I’m not so fatalistic. I like radio for its technical, atmospheric, and super-national communications aspects. It’s a series of puzzles to solve, not a preparation for the end of days. I raised myself up in a religion that continually talked about the end times, about Armageddon, about rapture, and fervently prayed that the end would come to fruition in our lifetime (can you believe that?). So I’ve had my fill of that talk. No thanks.

I’m in the hobby for the pure pursuit of the hobby. Why does everyone see it differently?

Lemonjuice

Spending some time at the end of my day going through a folder of poems I wrote eons ago. Why don’t I still write them? Why do I write only one, maybe two a year? I wrote dozens, thousands, millions of them. Yes, I’d hit 20% gold, but at that rate, that’s a good collection. The ones now, they’re rare, and rarer still, gold-plated and pretty to look at.

Young, dumb 20’s. Breast full of air, the swell of youth, the juice of life, and veins full of hope in relevance, companionship, sex, lust, forever, forever. I can’t possibly hope to go back to that and expect respect. Men kill for a return to previous forms. But the recent years have handed me a razor edge to slice and disdain, a ballot and a bullet of poisonous ideas that nobody gives a damn, that there’s nobody out there, that nothing means anything. That’s a sour drink, and it’s a sick thing to take in and spit out every day. I need more than this.

I need more.

Unconditional

What is the worth of unconditional love? It’s worth could be in its ever-presence, in the fact that it’s always available. However, you don’t have to work for it. You don’t have to earn it. You don’t pay anything for it. It’s free. So what is it worth?

Something given unconditionally is there when you deserve it, and it’s there when you don’t deserve it. It’s value does not fluctuate, therefore it is essentially valueless. It’s a given. It can be ignored.

Wouldn’t something that’s hard-won, something fought for, something earned, worth so much more?

So what is it worth?