"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Monday, January 24, 2005
an-tic-i-pate Function: verb
Etymology: Latin anticipatus, past participle of anticipare, from ante- + -cipare (from capere to take) -- more at HEAVE
1 : to give advance thought, discussion, or treatment to
2 : to foresee and deal with in advance : FORESTALL
3 : to act before (another) often so as to check or counter
4 : what sometimes, you just don't do
The Summer of 1979 was drawing to an inexhorable end, and amazingly, I was still alive.
But, as shown in prior posts, it wasn't due to lack of effort to not be.
The crowds in late August were dwindling, and the pace slowed down as if the world itself had almost burned itself out. Stores allowed their stock to run down, since they would board up in a few weeks time. People began pulling up stakes and looking for their next stop, wherever that would be.
My own next stop would be college, sophmore year at Furman. But unlike most schools, mine started later and so I could be full witness to the autumn that was infecting my summer world like an unstoppable cancer.
Maybe that's too harsh a word. Perhaps we were in more of a twilight.
Soon after our confrontation, Beth either quit or was fired from the magic shop she ran for Ripley's, depending on who you spoke with, and vanished from downtown. My own evenings continued to be filled with faceless girls, one after the other, but there was a malaise that settled over everything, a listlessness. It was as if everyone couldn't make themselves forget that in just weeks, then days, this would all be over.
The bingo parlor across the street told its attendants to clear out all of the nice gifts that had sat on the display shelves unclaimed for so long. So a lot of the local carnies and Gypsies would sit in on the bingo sessions, and working with the caller would cheat and take home portable TV's, blenders and tacky lamps and whatnot. Nobody really seemed to care.
I was invited to a Gypsy festival in Charleston by Papa Leo, but had to bow out due to my bad legs. I've regretted that many times since. I found out later that this may have meant they were going to make me an honorary Gypsy or something.
Labor Day, the end of the season, came like a 30th birthday. Unwelcome but inevitable, and why not party like the dickens anyway, so we did. All 500,000 and more of us.
The day after, the world had changed.
Sloppy Joe's was boarded up, and Mr. Z, my boss, had left town during the night with his two girlfriends and his jewelry counter. I never saw him again and he never came back to Myrtle Beach that I know of. The bar opened the next year as part of the Bowery.
Lots of shops closed too, and the ones that were open were dumping anything they could sell at ridiculous prices. Well, compared to the inflated ones they usually charged. Soon the only one open would be the venerable "Gay Dolphin" which was billed as the world's biggest gift shop. They stayed open all year.
The world's fattest twins left Ripleys and went to...well, wherever it is that people like that go to. Count Desmond left Guinness as well. The crowds were gone, things were quiet.
Soon even the carnivale rides would be silenced for the season, their metal skeletons standing mute all winter waiting on the Springtime sun and Memorial Day, and the garish paintings and sculptures standing guard over a ghostly, deserted midway.
I packed up all my important stuff, and headed out.
Furman was just like I remembered it. Oh, except for there was a whole new crop of freshman coming in, and they hadn't got the freshman twenty yet so they were still slim and cute for the most part. After my last four months, I was primed and ready.
My roommate was going to be a friend named Simon. We had met the previous year and decided to room together. I was looking forward to it. Simon was very different from me, a philosophy and religion major, but he had a quick mind and a good sense of humor.
Yeah, I thought as I dropped my first suitcase in the room, this was going to be fun.
My reverie was interrupted. "CLIFF!"
I turned and looked....that voice...I know that voice...
It was Beth. Here at Furman.
I think my bottom jaw probably swung in the breeze for at least a minute while my brain tried to get back in gear.
"Beth??!? What are you doing here?"
"I transferred in. I'm going to be a sophmore this year, like you. Drama major."
Surprise doesn't even come close to what I felt.
And down inside, as I made pleasant small talk, there was this evil voice that said "See? Patience..."
This story wasn't over yet.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
--Mahatma Gandhi, (attributed)