I just returned from a twelve day vacation to Seattle, Washington, several places in Alaska and Victoria, Canada. Having seen the lush and natural beauty of these places, it has made me look with both sadness and wonder at the crippling decline of the world we live in.
Now Seattle is more or less like any other city–crowded, pushy, traffic either racing or stalling and the frantic dwellers always busy busy busy. And these were the tourists. The true Seattlites are just as aloof as people in every town. They stare at their cell phones. They remain focused on themselves.
But Seattle is beautiful. I am more used to blowing pieces of filth trailing behind people, a piece of sandwich dropped and left on the ground and cartons of cigarettes tossed out of windows and crushed into the earth, not this neat and well organized metropolis of electronics corporations and internet meritocracies with the same weird west coast airiness that east coast motherfuckers like myself simply cannot understand.
And so we went on a tour, saw all the famous things, went to a Mariners game and absorbed what amounted to an alien culture. And then we got on board a ship to tour Alaska.
Alaska is the most stunning place I have ever seen: an endless horizon of clear blue water surrounded by mountains both near and far, high and low, frozen at the peeks and melting under the sun. And there are animals–creatures I have only seen in pictures and on television. Whales. Sea lions living as families on buoys. Strange hook-beaked scavenger birds eating the floating corpse of something an eagle recently killed in the ocean. It was nature, natural, a true picture of our dying world that I will never see again.
And then to Victoria, Canada A lovely little town, pocketed like all the cities in Alaska we visited with tourist shops selling Canada t-shirts and sweatshirts and key chains and all the other usual knickknacks, things like Bigfoot action figures and wood carved dogsleds.
But the people . . . never in my life have I attempted to pass through a crosswalk and had a car stop to politely let me go. I loved this brief time in Canada. It was hopeful, eye-opening, the overwhelmed vision of the world to someone born and bred in the narrow-walled mire of a great American city. It was too much for me. I knew what was going to happen.
On the way home we sat in the Seattle airport through a ten hour layover. Of course I got drunk. I slopped around and made a fool of myself and slipped and hit my head and generally embarrassed myself and my family at the end of our meant-to-be glorious trip. I completed vacation in a depressing state of shame.
Back home things returned to normal, which is not always a good thing. We become less close, no longer shoved together among strangers with only ourselves to rely upon. At home you are always alone. At home nothing new ever happens, only the same mindless repetitions of frustration and disappointment and boredom that make up so much of everyday life, no matter how ambitious or exciting or in love with the world you might pretend your life to be. Happiness is a front, a lie, a desperate hope that someday everything will change.
Nothing ever changes. The world is on fire. It’s melting. All of us are melting. We will someday turn into sand. It is the conspiracy of sand. Dust, dirt, grains blowing away or piling up on a rotten scorch of rubble. Everything is sand . . .