I’ve had a full week of organizing (as it were), my new digs and getting used to the subtle (yet useful), paranoia that is part of urban life. When I was young and closer to life on The Street or The Block I was always confident and felt I could prevail in most situations, which, by the way, was an erroneous view that persisted despite evidence to the contrary. I had my ass handed to me on more than several occasions. Nevertheless, I was mostly too deluded to see that confidence may not be all that it is cracked up to be. So, I blundered, and with huge amounts of luck and residual good merit I managed to reach what I now consider, fairly, to be old age.
Still, still; I strut a little when I walk past young men who are as I was when I was a street guy. Which I might as well differentiate from a street person. A street guy, is a young boy/man who knows the ways of the underclass and aspires to learn the ways of the middle and upper classes so that he can bring that street knowledge to bear, in a mistaken and often fruitless attempt to “get over” on the denizens of the country club. What the street guy has to find out at some point is that the denizens of the CC’s all come from families that were started by some ancestor who was a street guy and basically wrote the rule book for “becoming” . Not getting over.
A street “person” is one who has lost all the battles to become, or get over. This is one who has given in to the blandishments that fun and high times offered and now has the sinking (literal) feeling that things will only get worse. And, they do.
I’ve had the good fortune to be in all three places, and survived them all.
I went over to Napa Last night and went to a meeting at the place that the big change in my life began. The place where I first got sober and clean. When I went there over 31 years ago I was a real wreck. I could not think a straight thought. I could not look beyond my own cynicism wrapped in fear. But, one day at a time, incrementally and ever so slowly, I began to change.
Until I became the paragon of virtue that I am today. Until I had enough time and distance from that earlier version to see that I was not really changing so much as learning to not act so much on my impulses. Many are still very much in place and accessible, but pretty withered from disuse (hmmmmm).
Anyhooo; my experience is that basically I act different and I didn’t sense that until I was back in a more “urban” environment and I could see some old thought habits crop up. A sixty-seven year old coot “Bustin’ on down the street like a stone diddley-bop”, as we used to say… It is amusing, and I suspect provides a chuckle or two for any modern diddley-bops who happen to see this old ghost reliving an old delusion.
Life is wonderful, but we don’t have to keep repeating everything and sometimes we can just grin and shake our heads and realize that old fools are usually the result of being young fools.
Being a fool, young or old is not necessarily a bad thing. If you learn from it, and, live through it.