Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting All Deep Up in a Big Old Tree

When I was about 12 or 13 or so, I was walking through this neighborhood in Memphis called Hedgemoor.  Hedgemoor is this fancy, pretty old neighborhood with windy roads and lots of trees (Memphis gives good tree, y'all.  Lots of big old pretty trees in Memphis).  I was walking a dog, I think and in the midst of this walk I found myself staring at this huge, beautiful old tree and thinking "I want to be as big as that tree! I'm going to be as huge as that tree."  I meant, like, famous, you know?  Not 18 feet tall.  Stop being so literal.  God.

Still, what an embarrassing memory!  It sounds like the start of an overwrought Lifetime biopic that ends with some glamorous but fading beauty driving an expensive car off a cliff or something.  The final shot:  an $1800 shoe floats poetically to the top of the ocean, the last sad remnant of a a star that blazed too bright and then flared out.   And.... credits.  For what it's worth, back in the days that my Saturdays were spent fighting off hangovers instead of chauffeuring Laney to various classes and vacuuming and stuff, I would have watched the living shit out of that movie.

But it happened.  This is a real moment from my youth.  And don't you go being all smug about it.  You know had similarly melodramatic teenage affirmations of your own future fame.

But, now?  God, fame sounds like such a huge pain in the ass.  I mean, I'm not really interested in any life plan that involves me having to go out at night.  I spend my evenings in sweatpants city, population: a very comfortable me.  Teenage me would have wept at that assertion.  But, you know, she also listened to Huey Lewis on purpose.  What the hell does she know?

I feel no urge to take the world by storm. It seems much nicer to sit back and enjoy it.  And this is not just because I'm lazy and enjoy television.  I've also grown to grok that there's not much point in taking the world by storm because no matter how big we are, we're still so small.

Walking home from the el today, I told Laney about the Pale Blue Dot. You know that picture, right?  This one:

Everyone you've ever loved, the entire sum history of humankind, all the literature and love and Olympic gold medals, all the big old trees that are and have ever been...  just that tiny blue dot.

This doesn't make me feel insignificant.  It makes me feel sort of relaxed and happy that my own narcissism is adequately served by this shitty blog.