Sunday, November 27, 2005

Yeah ... Smooth as a Gravel Road

SYRACUSE, NY (ZP) -- I hate airport bars. Especially in airports lacking proper smoking sections. I can completely understand and respect the needs of nonsmokers who don't want to deal with the whole second-hand smoke thing. Fine.

But if you're a militant non puffer and you feel its your duty to remind me that I can't smoke because you noticed a cigarette behind my ear, I feel its well within my right to tell you where you can shove that goddamned overpriced "ultra-light" beer you're drinking.

This woman at the bar thought my outburst was entertaining, I guess. We struck up a conversation, like most airport conversations, about nothing in particular.

Frankie, cowgirl/college student from Arizona... meet Jason, Ohio-based librarian.

Over the course of our conversation about absolutely nothing, I had these curious thoughts distracting me. While I should have been paying full attention to her story about some county fair pageant she entered because her mom wanted her to behave like a girl, part of my brain got sidetracked.

Sure, this woman has beautiful eyes, but what would they look like in 50 years, staring back at me from across some Flagstaff porch? Or just outside Tucson, out in the desert, gleaming against the night sky? Or from behind sweaty hair after a long hike down through a box canyon or...?

Apparently, Frankie noticed my mind was wandering.

"Hello? Earth to library boy...?"

"Um...You have very nice earrings. I like turquoise."

Yeah. I think I've said this before, but I'm not smooth. More like a cross between Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man and Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump.

She had to catch her flight, and she asked me to walk her to her gate. For some reason, she asked for a hug and told me to call her.

I forgot to get her number. Yeah...smooth as a gravel road.

This old alcoholic-looking lady nearby proceeded to give me her unsolicited insights into the world. She said something about how she hoped my "girlfriend" would have a safe flight and that she loved to see nice young men with nice girls and how her dead husband Bernie used to rub her feet when they used to fly TWA.

Lady, I wasn't even smart enough to get a last name. And this woman wasn't my girlfriend; I just met her. And I was too goddamned oblivious to ask her for, you know, practical potential date information, like, you know, a goddamned phone number.

* NOTE - This is the last of three dispatches regarding my journey into Upstate/Central New York. I promise. Think of it as my travel blog version of Charlie's Angels...You have the smart one, the serious one, and the completely dumb one. This is the dumb one.
- Jason


Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

I imagine if you had really wanted her number you would have obtained it. Best be careful with some one who asks you to hug her goodbye after knowing you a few short seconds. lol

Brit said...

I agree with alice...sounds kinda freaky

The ZenFo Pro said...

lol...true. but I'm pretty dense most of the time nonetheless. I'm actually leery of most women - which is strange considering most of my friends are female. As for the hug thing, well, it probably doesn't matter much, but it was actually more like 45 minutes...still bizarre, but most pre-vet folks I've met, like everyone else, have their quirks. I don't know...guess I said something.

Well, I don't think there's anything freaky about it really. Maybe it comes from living out in the Rocky Mtn region for a while. How many people do you meet 2000 mis away who actually know something about your hometown (hint - I was born in Arizona) who have relatives in the same part of the country you just visited? The three beers might have had something to do with it, too.

G said...

Alice, you're being a tad unrealistic. It's amazing what a guy can forget sometimes, no matter how much he wants it. I always seem to forget when I have a day off and show up to everyone's surprise ... especially in the weeks where I REALLY need that day off.

I've had my share of similar brain farts, too, J. Best you can do is take it to heart, and hopefully get a number the next time you meet someone who has a similar effect.

Shit happens, but hey, it did make for a pretty good story, so there is that.

Peace dude,

Katherine said...

I frigging hate that...why do some old biddies always seem to want to stick your nose in other people's business. lol...I don't smoke but i get the feeling youre more the denis leary type ;)

The ZenFo Pro said...

I do the same thing, man. I've shown up on Sundays for work, meetings two hours early, etc. lol, shit does indeed happen.

Lol...yeah, nosey senior citizens. I left out stuff about her husband being dead, her lamenting the state of Delta, etc., etc., etc., As for Denis Leary...thanks for the compliment. I struggle daily to be more of an asshole ;)

Anonymous said...

David Duke is a malignant narcissist.

He invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and the trappings of power further exacerbate this. Real life authority and David Duke’s predilection to surround him with obsequious sycophants support David Duke’s grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience.

David Duke's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

Duke fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, and mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.
Duke is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people - or humanity at large - should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, Duke became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman". But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" - or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to, as "nature" is not natural at all.

Duke invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial - though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols - not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism - and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" - against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon David Duke like (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

Minorities or "others" - often arbitrarily selected - constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin ... They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenseless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm - together with Stalin - as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

Duke prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime - Duke having died, been deposed, or voted out of office - it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of David Duke. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform David Duke like narrative. Thus, David Duke who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite - is highly unlikely to use violence at first. The pacific mask crumbles when David Duke has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, and the prime sources of his narcissistic supply - have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, David Duke strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc. When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail, David Duke becomes injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized - is now discarded with contempt and hatred. This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To David Duke, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. Duke is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc. The "small people", the "rank and file", and the "loyal soldiers" of David Duke - his flock, his nation, and his employees - they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated - is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of David Duke. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.