The normal flow of things was broken yesterday. I had just finished teaching my classes, which both went well, and settled down to read some critical articles for my night class. I decided to take a break and watch The Mothman Prophecies, but by the end of the first hour I descended into a migraine.
It washed over me in waves of intense pain, and I settled into bed and closed my eyes. I used to have migraines fairly frequently, but since returning to school they have mostly subsided. Though I was quite prepared for class, I missed it. I never do that. I managed to escape into sleep, and woke up around midnight for a while. I watched the rest of the movie and then slept, until 9am when Dr. Crisp called to say that he was feeling ill so my afternoon class today was cancelled.
The articles I was reading yesterday had to do with speech and silence, and authority and voice. Strange how that happens; lots of material I wanted to blog more about these topics; I may get back to them this afternoon if I can recapture the train of thought. But it was broken by a different sort of pain than what usually disrupts me.
I feel better today, but I’m oddly dislocated. I woke up thinking of Chaucer, in his little cubicle above the bridge. I was thinking about how our models today are not brilliant men with skills above the norm. The actors and actresses, sports figures and celebrities which garner the greatest monetary rewards in society are largely ordinary people who have been singled out because of their talents to inspire in ways that have little to do with intelligence. The most essential people in our society are paid the least, because we run away from the mundane into the fantasy worlds of entertainment and sport; we don’t want to be reminded that the core values that support society are tedious boring work. Escape is the most highly praised commodity by far.
But the stories that grant most people escape are written by committee. It’s not the efforts of great men, but instead a sort of social consensus voted upon by dollars. Leading the parade are hollow puppets, with strings pulled not by master manipulators, but instead by the winds of popular opinion.
Okay, so that isn’t that profound. It’s just what I was thinking about this morning. When I clear my head, I may be able to return to that broken train of thought which reaches deeper that a cursory survey of surface values.
Yesterday, I was thinking of silence. Appropriately enough, it was expressed in silence. I was thinking about the increasing numbers of e-mails I get from people who define themselves by withholding, by saying little other than they read what I say and are puzzled or amused by it. I withhold little, because I have nothing to lose. My life is quite ordinary, and I’ve spent much more time focusing on what I say rather than what I don’t say. Perhaps it’s time for a change. Or perhaps not.