Saturday, July 25, 2015

Getting a Little Older

Two weeks ago, I described the hellish, contextual-less nightmare underpinning our society, and suggested perhaps trying to deconstruct all cultural meaning all the time might not prove valuable.

Yesterday, at Marginal Revolution, I saw why I trust my inclination to avoid the Meme-Plex:

I hate how much I love to grill. It’s not that I’m inclined to vegetarianism or that I otherwise object to the practice itself. But I’m uncomfortable with the pleasure I take in something so conventionally masculine. Looming over the coals, tongs in hand, I feel estranged from myself, recast in the role of suburban dad. At such moments, I get the sense that I’ve fallen into a societal trap, one that reaffirms gender roles I’ve spent years trying to undo. The whole business feels retrograde, a relic of some earlier, less inclusive era.

The Meme-Plex ends up destroying all meaning, remember. Everything becomes an exercise in seeing systematic oppression everywhere, even the tiniest glances become "micro-aggressions."

Thankfully, other priorities interest me these days. This week I talked to my banker for quite some time: I wanted to verify my Cook County property taxes, due the beginning of August, had been paid. After all, delinquent property taxes can force an auction on your home, and throw my Wife and I into the street.

Our bank paid the taxes in full (out of the escrow) two weeks ago.

Big sigh of relief. My Wife did not understand my sense of urgency, but this is one of the reasons why I am Head of Household.

At my 4th of July Party, the gentlemen rounded the grill (how oppressive!) and discussed or 401k packages and health care plans. Suffice to say, my friends receive many more blessings from the good Lord than I do, as they have 1:1 matching up to 6% (12%), and $1,000 deductibles for scarcely $100/month.

Time to yell at my company!

An old high school friend visited last night. He now is a dirty unionized public sector employee, in the Chicago school district. He's gained some weight over the years, as have we all. Instead of our typical lengthy rants about geopolitics, presidential politics, and economic nightmares, we talked about:

1. Pouring some gravel in my new lawn to prevent soil erosion
2. The good fortune of a homeowner replacing galvanized steel pipes with copper
3. Where to install an indoor hammock from the roof
4. Fiskars vs. Scotts Reel Lawnmowers (I own the Scott, he wants a Fiskars)
5. Seasoning cast iron skillets
6. Other boring stuff

Donald Trump's name did not come up once, nor did the Greek bailout crisis. He instead talked about how he enjoyed working in Chicago Public School system, felt he was making a difference, and wanted to show the world what his kids could do. We ended the night assembling some bar stools from Bed Bath Beyond and headed home before 10.

After a hectic work week, there's no need to wish for anything more than knocking back a few beers with a friend and finding new insights into some pressing household problems.

There's always alternatives, of course. There's other ways to live life. Whenever my in-laws get together, none of whom are homeowners, none of whom have any real responsibilities, the talk always falls into cats, internet memes, and TED Talks. We gather around the table, play a board game, and I experience what can only be described as utterly superficial ADHD banter.

1: Did you see this new thing on youtube?
2: Oh yeah my cats did something like that once.
3: What if your cats lived on the MOOOOONNNN?????

What a nightmare. I remember why I hated college so much. 

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