Friday, December 12, 2008


In Dan Savage’s homage to the seven deadly sins, Skipping Towards Gomorrah, he talks, in the chapter on greed, I think, about losing a bunch of money gambling and how it makes him feel just totally flayed, but absolutely alive, and in that moment, he comes to understand the appeal of playing blackjack, even though it’s ultimately a losing proposition for whomever sits down at the table to face the cards.

And while I’m not in that situation now, I do have a little taste of it, as we’ve come to San Francisco to spend a bunch of money eating, drinking, and carrying on, even though those are funds better invested in college savings plans, mortgage payments, or heaven knows, bicycle parts, which—even if expensive—would at least be lasting.

But I get it, I really do. Here we are, purchasing experiences instead of things, and despite the fact that what we’re getting is fleeting and ephemeral, it does give us a few moments here and there of being fully alive, even if self-recrimination follows on its heels.

Today, we’ve wandered the streets and looked at art and then I took a bus through once-familiar streets to the Haight-Ashbury which, it seems, has become something like a theme-park/shopping mall version of the dream it aspired to some forty-plus years ago.

And, what followed, as I then spent more on a single Anchor Steam beer than I typically expend for an entire six pack of my usual, then wasted even more money on non-essentials strolling about, could only be understood as an expression of that same impulse to which Mr. Savage was referring in his book: I’m sure that there is some sort of connection between liveliness and bank accounts, and no doubt there’s something strangely liberating about making choices that one comes to regret; still, if I didn’t currently feel so fully alive, I’d look forward to imagining it were just a dream to eventually awake from.


Blogger btm said...

The Last Viridian Note, recent musings by Bruce Sterling on value.

1:00 PM  

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