Friday, July 25, 2008

aesthetics and specialness

I am of the last year of the baby boomer generation. 1964. In a month I turn 44, and I have to say I feel hardly related to my so-called generation. I am more inclined to feel disenfranchised and left-behind like the Generation Xers. Like somehow I just missed the boat that the rest of my class got on.

This is not all bad. I once got "lost" in Disneyland and it turned out to be an enlightening experience. My friends got ahead of me, and I was left behind, wandering the theme park alone, free to observe and witness its wonders. I suppose the fact that I like Disneyland makes me a boomer, but the way I like it makes me an Xer. Does that make sense? Hmmmm. I am not frantic to ride the ride. I'm more inclined to find the place that doesn't have a line and check it out. I like the Tiki Room.

So what does this have to do with aesthetics? There is a conversation that I've heard for the last 15 or so years about tile or granite counter tops. I may have mentioned it before. I've heard it over and over and over again. I think it is the quintessential conversation of my peers. Do you like tiles? Hand-made or stone does not matter. Do you like granite or even marble? I actually have an opinion. My favorite counter top is thick, thick butcher block, oiled and hardly otherwise treated. I like it to be marked with knife scrapes and dinged with dropped pots. Are you getting my point? I saw it once in a crazy old house in South Central LA off Washington Blvd. It had real substance.

I am an architect's daughter, grand-daughter, great-grand-daughter. My mother is a fine artist. I can't help using my eyes. I do a lot around the way things look. I worked for a huge corporation just qualifying things based on the way things looked. What I do now for a small, non-profit is all about the way things look.

I used to be a long, long time ago very focused on the way I looked and I spoke to impress and I said things that were silly and accidentally profound. Apparently, I had a reputation for being cool, and I find that amusing and disturbing. I'm sure it is what got me in so much trouble to begin with, caring about appearances. I just told my boss the other day that I was tragically hip and I was. It was a tragedy because I was merely avoiding the idea that perhaps I was not special. I did not want to be a statistic ever.

When I first started writing these blogs I wrote about specialness and my argument with it. I was trying so hard to learn how to be a regular person with regular needs and regular goals. I have been immersed now for nearly a year in being pretty regular. I've concentrated on working and on sharing what I know without expressing a belief that I am destined to write something great or to create something substantial. I've accepted that perhaps I'm a torch passer rather than a torch bearer. This is the only place I've been writing publicly.

I have to apologize. I've gone back and re-read some of it, and I feel really boring. The same thing over and over again. Me. Me. Me. I can't seem to get away from myself. It occurred to me just now that mayhaps I shall write about something else for a while. What if I wrote about other people I've known or am meeting? Would that be interesting? Would you like to hear what other people look like through my aesthetic? That's about as far as I can get from myself. Har. Maybe I'll write a dozen a practice and a relief from endless me.

The me generation is part of me. I can't help it, but as I'm just hanging onto that boat with my fingernails, maybe I'll discipline myself and let go. Maybe I can turn my eyes away from the mirror and learn something from my observations of others...Maybe I can see the specialness in other people. I wonder...

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