StayingPut

StayingPut
Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Beheading Holofernes, ca. 1614–20
"Not stir crazy yet, not by a long shot."

In this culture, we believe that strange things will happen to us if we simply StayPut. In Buddhist cultures, stillness might be aspired for, even revered, but we're a kinetic crew over here. We're up and gone as a matter of ingrained routine. We feel as though we haven't accomplished anything unless we've gone out somewhere then returned in-between. We make many round trip runs, almost always ending up just about where we started from, but with the added benefit, I guess, of having sandwiched a gone in there between the anchoring StayingPuts. If I were to deeply immerse myself into StayingPut, I might start stalking the hallways with an axe, chopping holes in otherwise perfectly innocent doors, slathering. I maybe might even turn into a creepy isolated old cat lady, newspapers piled to the ceiling. Or a shut-in, font of endless neighborhood rumors of what I might once have been, a definite haunted house has-been. StayingPut might be the most dangerous possible state for anyone seeking greatness or notoriety, and aren't we all in the Notoriety Business now? Excuse me, please, but I just gotta leave for awhile. I'll be right back. Not going anywhere, really, just … out.

We're StayingPut for our Staycation this summer, and not just because of our Governor's Stay At Home Order.
We would have been StayingPut more or less regardless, though we've fiddled with the stricter interpretations of his directive. You see, we early on declared The Schooner and Elizabeth, our rarely-used second vehicle, extensions of our living room, so we can, according to our Hoyle, roam around a little bit, but only a little. Our range reduced, we imagine that we could not possibly super spread unless, of course, we break down somewhere. I figure that if we break down, we're screwed whatever else we do, since the tow truck driver will very likely turn out to be some fervent anti-masker throwing off infected droplets like a slobbering Doberman. He will invite us to ride with him, and that will be, as they say in the theater, curtains for us. We roam around, but if we do not hardly depart the vehicle on our rounds, grounds for any indictment will very likely not be forthcoming. Drive-up window service does not count as an actual out and about. Got it? If we can round trip it without having to resort to using a public restroom or sharing a sit down meal, we're StayingPut, or so sayeth our rules.

I should have rightly stared our yard into submission this spring and summer, the volume of out-the-front-window staring I've been lately doing. When absolutely stumped about how to fill an odd idle hour, staring out the window's an under-appreciated skill, one which always seems to appreciate some additional dedicated honing. Whoever concocted the brilliant idea to create a FaceBook Group dedicated to people posting the view from their front window, deserves sainthood along with their instant multiple million followers, for we're all dedicated gawkers now, either looking out our own window or longingly looking out of others'. StayingPut could, now that they've postponed the Olympics, have become a competitive sport in some au courant AltOlympics. I'm uncertain how one might score this competition, but I "coulda been a contendah."

StayingPut reminds me of Cole Porter's Why Don't We Try Staying Home?, a definite theme song for this times. He asks, "What if we threw a party or two and asked only you and me?" It's a question well worth repeatedly asking ourselves. I no longer feel longing or loneliness, but a growing pity for those who seem unable to quell their Compulsive Roaming Disorder, for roaming disorders a life. StayingPut offers infinite opportunities for fine tuning a life which might have never even come into focus when always on the move. The petunias receive regular pruning. Narcissus grows ever fonder of his shimmering reflection without the near-constant distraction of hoppings out to the inconvenience store for … something. Sure, we've all become successively more boring, for our storying tradition favors travelogues and we've not quite yet produced a genre to contain stories set in the same place over and over and over again. Maybe we're finally us, without all the traditional attendant fuss and bother of relocating anywhere.

I appreciate This Damned Pandemic for bestowing one great gift, the gift that elevated sloth out of the gutter and into a prime seat peering out the front window. I am not plotting my escape, but grateful for needing no exit strategy. I, perhaps for the first time in my long and suspiciously sorry existence, know where I'm located and I have been reliably finding myself right there in the usual chair, staring out the front window. I sigh deeply before heading out anywhere, inconvenienced from my meditative scheming. Advancement seems just as futile as retreat, and so I find myself inhabiting the place where the authentically elite meet to eat. Me, again, befriending my ungussied self. I figure that with just a little more dedication and focused time, I might finally figure out just who I'm, as Ira Gershwin once proposed. Not stir crazy yet, not by a long shot.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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