Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Most Recent Thoughts of Any Importance to Me.

What I'm posting today is a letter I wrote to a friend of mine named Shane. He and I used to work at Starbucks together. He and I enjoyed philosophy-chat while cleaning and slinging coffee. Then, in the space of 2 weeks, Shane and I left the store for our own little destinies. We wrote to the other to see how each was faring. The response I wrote back was so good that I thought it made up for my having not written any thing in two months.

Hey Shane,
How I envy you. The scholarship you're about to encounter is certainly going to sharpen your wits. This new job has nearly the opposite effect. I just received my first salary check, which was my first ever 4-figure paycheck. (I would have framed it if I didn't need to pay for food!)
Obvious benefits are hard to disregard. I'm writing to you on my new tablet computer, connected to a wireless Internet. My new phone, which is waiting for a call, is quite, technically speaking, spiffy. Bluetooth headset. Touch-screen. Enough memory to allow me to recover from a complete mental breakdown.. .
But Stuff isn't always the answer to the problems of life ... That's an answer I've memorized.
So. let me tell you about my lunch hour today. At about 12:30, I figured I needed some food. Old pasta salad in the fridge. Of course, for the time being I'm working at home. Munching on chips. Crunch. Crunch. Lynne calls. She's at Manito and she wonders if I'm free. So I drive out at 1:00. She knows of a cafe that we can walk to. I think she's nuts. We walk. Then, out of a grove of old houses, we find Rockwood Bakery. I've never been there before, so we wander in. Because we have the cash, we can order a lunch item of our own and a drink each..never before could we do that. We approach the counter and the lead barista, register position, is spouting off three interjections as answer to each question of the customer ahead of us.
"Can I get a shot in that?"
"Definitely. No problem. Yeah. Um..."
Some of those words-no, not the words, the intonations are so familiar to me.
"Take debit?"
"Yep. You got it. Awesome."
Awesome? There it is. The tale tell word, beating like Poe's heart beneath the floorboards of the conversation. I haven't said any of these words he's saying in over a month. Now, I really am on the other side of the counter.
We go up to pay. For Some reason, I'm a victim of "Customer Idiocy" ,and I ask "Take Debit?"
Lynne chimes in. " No, I've got it."
"You sure? You had to buy batteries earlier."
"No, I've got it."
And I suddenly realize we are the arguing couple. The people that I used to say, sarcastically, "How about you arm-wrestle over it" -We are those people! I start to get dizzy. I pay and we sit down outside, taking pictures of my daughter sipping-not really- from my italian soda. We are the yuppies, I'm thinking. We are the people I used to hate. The people whowere never really going to contribute to society the way that Eisenhower, Carnegie, and Von Braun contributed. These people-- these people are cogs in the wheels of society. they don't strive to be anything more than the one who has taken the most advantage of the society, eaten the most pie, made a place for themselves, in their time. Not in timeless-ness. Now, am I of them?
I just read a booklet, a pamphlet published by a New York teacher. It's titled "What's Really Wrong with our Schools?" You can imagine whatit's about. But his main point is the value of self-directed study. that one loans best Via one's own direction. I should send you a copy of it. Instead, I'll send you my after-reading notes. That might give you an idea about what a tablet computer is.
Until I recover from my sudden thrusting into Yuppie-dom,
Youssef

3 comments:

Rick Capezza said...

So what are you doing now?

Daniel M said...

So, you won the argument of who was going to pick-up the bill?

Daniel and Natalie said...

"Yuppie," short for "Young Urban Professional," describes a demographic of people generally between their late twenties and early thirties. Yuppies tend to hold jobs in the professional sector, with incomes that place them in the upper-middle economic class. The term "Yuppie" emerged in the 1980s as an echo of the earlier "hippies" and "yippies" who had rejected the materialistically-oriented values of the business community.