Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I've been thinking a lot recently. Not things I'd put here: generally, the paranoiac thoughts that haunt you when you are attempting to sleep (not that I do that much lately, even less than normal) are generally bad news. I'd hate people to worry.
But here's one*: in contemplating the Exodus -- and I do mean it in the epic sense suggested by the Biblical capital -- of friends away from Jay, I have thought on wit. In darker moments, such as I described above, I think whatever company brooks me does so out of a desire for amusement. "Oh," they think, "Jay and his remarks will amuse us, no matter how deplorable his comportment elsewise may be." Deplorable here means "When his wit is turned on people we like." Hardly anybody -- I would have said nobody, but there are one or two blessed souls I can recollect -- discusses literature or poetry or art history or drama or music with me. I mean three of the four I have actual degrees in and the other (music) I've studied even longer, (I took piano for a decade).
The one person -- late my best friend, now silently removed to Boston in the Yankee Beyond -- I talked to about philsophy is gone.
It feels like I am sorely lacking in actual, meaningful interpersonal relationships. I can't connect with the people I'm with.
And then it hit me. Wit**
It's a shield. If I make some witty/smart-assed remark, you learn absolutely nothing about what I really think. If it truly is wit and not petty vengeance, you can't even determine anger or irritation. All's one to the wit -- and I think that's a quote from a Restoration Comedy***.
Nobody likes me because nobody knows me because I never let anyone find anything out.
(By the by, I know why that happens, too. I can deal with people I don't know and/or don't like me. It's when people are nice and/or like me that I get all confused. I know why that is, too, but I will have some discretion.)

To remedy this, some random personal information. Well, it makes me feel better to tell it, even it is the Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness.

*This post should be accompanied by Chopin's 'Rain Drop' Prelude (Opus 28, no. 15, in D flat major). It is very beautiful. I could play it once, when I practiced and I had a piano. I'd probably cry like a baby if I heard it now, especially the middle part, where the melody moves to the left hand and is played with big, loud block chords that you literally have to fall into: Bum bum bem bummm, bum bum bem bummm (little flittery right hand note)... Sigh.

** Not too long ago, I ran one of the follow spots for one of the first regional production of Wit. This is a great play. You should read it. This train of thought should have hit me one of the 60+ times I saw it, as it is about a woman in the same position. 'Cept she's dying. But aren't we all...

*** I love Restoration Comedies. These are English plays written (obviously enough) during the English Restoration [of the Monarchy, c. 1666 to 1740]. After a generation of the playhouses being closed by law, all theatrical tradition was gone. They were, at the time, a wholly new theatrical and social event. They still have little in common with our modern theatre. Their entire basis is on witty exchanges. Within a relatively short time, they passed away, largely because people couldn't tell the difference between Wit and Spite.
They were replaced by Sentimental Comedies. (ugh.)

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