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Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Need You to All Stop, for Just a Moment

What’s with everything changing all the time? I need more stagnancy in my life, people! Roads are detoured, U.S. currency looks different from day to day, my pants are inexplicably shrunken in the wash…

Could we all just sit still for a moment?!

Remember when nothing seemed to change? When green was your favorite color, when summer lasted forever and you knew things for a certainty because they always had been that way?

The older I get – and the more I think about things – the more convinced I become that knowledge is relative, that nothing can be known for sure, and that few things under the control of humans can be “known”.

For example, when I was little, gambling was wrong. Everyone “knew” this. I specifically remember a movie, some movie, where the police came in, raiding a poker game. I had wanted to know why they couldn’t play cards, and my parents explained to me that playing for/with money was wrong, that it was illegal, and that people who gambled were criminals. My father continued on with a speech on organized crime, prohibition, and the Kennedys, but I had already stopped listening.

But gambling illegal? Not true anymore! Gambling is okay now, have you heard? The lottery’s on the TV. There are by-the-hour daycares in casinos. Vegas is actively promoting itself as a family destination. There’s water parks and shows and buffets and hookers. Something for everyone!

Full disclosure here: I’ve only been to Vegas once. Got dreadfully lost in an unfortunate I’ll-Be-Over-Here-While-You’re-In-The-Bathroom Fiasco that netted me two hours of 3:00 a.m. fear, two marriage proposals I suspect were not sincere, one lewd proposition that I suspect was, and a stern yelling-at from the people I was eventually reunited with. I do have to say, though, through all the trauma, that I was really surprised at how many people were in the casinos with strollers and small children, even at 3:00 in the morning. Ding! Ding! Ding! Daddy, can I have another roll of quarters for the slots?

What does that mean, when something that used to be wrong is now right?

It used to be okay to smoke. In theaters. And airplanes. And hospitals. And courthouses. And bars! Wasn’t too long ago, either. I thought I'd be upset about that, being a Bummer Of Other Folks' Cigs once I've had a few, but turns out I'm not.  There's freedom in no longer necessary to wash everything that had anything to do with the smoky night before.

What’s my point? That what is okay changes from year to year, from place to place. Some changes, like fashion, are within our control – grown women with bows in their hair? Pants belted below the crotch? White after Labor Day?!! As we say in Minnesota: Well, that's interesting.

Other changes, like the profane/highly entertaining cell phone conversations one sometimes overhears on the bus, are more nebulous. When did people become okay with airing their dirty laundry in public?

And I guess that’s the nature of change, isn’t it? One minute you know exactly what you’re doing, and the next minute, despite your high school education, you can’t remember the old name for Myanmar or what used to stand on that corner before they tore it down to make way for the condos.

Change. You just can’t keep up.

38 comments:

Al Penwasser said...

And I gotta be careful I don't step on my testicles when I put my sneakers on!
Oops. Sorry. TMI.
Still.....

Al Penwasser said...

Oh, by the way, it's Burma.
The really, really sad thing is I didn't have to Google it.
Think I'll go barefoot today.
Just sayin'...

Shelly said...

My head's still in a whirl about the toppling of things that used to be immutable fact. Things like: waiting an hour after eating before swimming, taking the clothes out of the dryer as soon as the cycle finishes, and not wearing pajamas to the grocery store.

The times they are a changin'.

Simply Suthern said...

Change, I'm agin it. I'm not even sure how many planets there are now. I had a lot to say but changed my mind.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

I just think it's unfair that the older we get, Pearlie, the faster time goes. I miss the endless summers.

Camille said...

Yup. Went into a house just last week that was purchased in the early 70's, beautifully decorated, and not one thing has been changed since then. The owners lived the last 40 years with bright orange counter tops, avocado appliances, shag carpets and flower-power wall paper. Groovy. They've recently passed away and have left behind an immaculate time capsule. I expected Greg, Marcia, and Mrs. Brady to come around the corner any minute.

You have to admire (or at least marvel) at people who know exactly what they like and don't, or won't, change a thing.

mary i said...

All so very true. I come from the "do not air your dirty laundry" generation. I am amazed at what I hear and see most days.

joeh said...

I'm still pissed that Pluto is no longer a planet!

Pearl said...

Wonderful points, all.

You know, I used to know a lot more than I know now...

Pearl

Daisy said...

Nothing changes but the changes. I feel like I am in a constant spin trying to keep up.

Geo. said...

Even the status quo is in a state of flux.

Delores said...

I never knew what I don't know now and probably never will but that doesn't stop me from confused..wait..
it's okay to wear pajamas in public? Is that what you said? You mean I never have to get dressed in the morning again? WooHoo.

Douglas said...

But... the only thing constant is change. I recall that from my youth (long before you were born, I can assure you... you whippersnapper). Change is good... especially if you find it before the washer does.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Once upon a time...

I once overheard a conversation between my mother and her three sisters at a time when they would have been around our ages now and it wasn't a lot different from this. I swore I'd never do it.

But when you started on about the rampant, Government-backed gambling. Well! How is that a good thing???

Change, taxes and death are the only guarantees of life. Doesn't mean we have to like 'em. You wanna gripe? Go right ahead! YAM xx

Beach Bum said...

I understand what you mean, as a kid nothing whatsoever seemed to change. The future was some nebulous but glorious place with weekend trips to the moon and video phones.

While the moon thing is a bust the video phone did eventually get here I find the old fashioned one you just talk into sufficient.

Jono said...

Answers the question. Burma and Bob's Bank and Laundromat. Somedays I think my name changes because I can't remember it. Then my wife yells at me and it all comes back.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

I hope someday we can put a stop to change.

Nessa Locke said...

This is a pretty deep post. I never got to be that kid who was fooled into thinking things should remain the same. As a military brat, my life was a constantly turning wheel.

jenny_o said...

True, except maybe for fashion. The high-waisted, baggy pants and the flowy see-through hippy shirts - right back again. Only difference is the change in me. If I dared to wear them again I might get arrested for being a public nuisance.

As for the rest of life, you're right. And while I like some things to change, technology is not one of them.

Elephant's Child said...

About the only thing I know with any certainty now, is how little I know. And strive as I might the ignorance is growing. Rapidly.

Eva Gallant said...

Just be sure to change your undies!

Leenie said...

See what happens when you have too many birthdays? Stop thinking so much. Just confusing and a waste of time. In the immortal words of Donald Rummy:

There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.

That guy had WAY too many birthdays. Just skip the birthdays and keep on posting. Love your blog.

Leenie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lin said...

I talk like my grandpa now...

"Look at the long hair on that kid...you can't tell the boys from the girls"

"Why is everyone in such a big RUSH?"

Criminy, either we are gettin' old or the world's gone crazy. I believe it is the second.

Daisy said...

I don't mind change - I can't remember what went before anyway.
Daisy's Barbara

Rose L said...

Sooo,...did you go with the lewd proposition???? wink wink

vanilla said...

But. Change is not a synonym of progress.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I suppose change is inevitable, but that doesn't mean I can't fight it tooth and nail.

River said...

The biggest change seems to be speed. Everyone is hurrying to do everything at once or sooner, so they can be finished and get on with the next thing. Am I the only one who still sits down now and then to do nothing?

Kymbo Whitford said...

..and foods too! I well remember when the scientists and body experts announced that Potatoes weren't good for you any more. My Nan went off on a rant that you could not print here... Turns out of course that Nan was right and those well paid specialists knew nothing...

Roly said...

They've taken away all our fun, gambling movies with age limits that made us sneak in or lie about ages etc. Soon we'll be able to smoke pot in the park :)

Rosemarie Blackthorn said...

Honey, don't look at me.

My life is one big change after another....

I've given up trying to keep up with myself.

Roses
xx

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Well as far as change goes, we have no choice but to keep up. I know we always initially resist it but it's a futile endeavor. And I have noticed thew same thing about my pants mysteriously shrinking in the wash. What's up with that??

Pat Tillett said...

Granny used to always tell us that change was good for us. Sometimes, I'm not so sure. I tend to hang on the things I like best. The older they are, the better they seem to work or wear. New stuff usually has to be replaced on a predetermined schedule. I hate that kind of change.

chlost said...

Oh, not only have those pants shrunk in the dryer, but when I see photos that are supposedly of me, all I see is my grandma. That is NOT me, I swear!! Who changed the photo??

Suldog said...

My entire existence past the age of 20 has been an attempt to recreate the thoughts and feelings I had in kindergarten. Does that help?

You hit many nerves here, Pearl. My personal vision of Heaven includes square miles of things I loved but which now don't exist - old factory buildings, railways, ballfields, restaurants, hotels, and even a smattering of people here and there.

(I suspect the real Heaven is more magnificent than anything I can dream up, of course, but still...)

Jen said...

Simply Suthern:
There are 8 planets, 5 dwarf planets, and couple more dwarf planets due to be promoted soon.
This from an - obviously recent - National Geographic book called 13 planets that my kids love.
Perhaps the promotions have already taken place.

Diane Tolley said...

Everyone should be like me. Stuck in the past where it's safe. And warm. And happy. And not confusing . . .