outhouse philosophy (amended version)
by tobias crabtree
— i re-wrote this essay after a day of thinking about the words that were, perhaps written in haste. i felt it necessary to amend previous thoughts especially after personally applying the message toward the end; is it true, is it necessary, is it kind? if not, you better think a little more before you say/write it.–
cosmically, i’m a mess. there are the stars, burning, and the planets, spinning, and then there’s me, driving from one bar to the next. i was trying to alter reality by finding something that might be the slightest bit distracting. i couldn’t find it, probably because, well, reality is for reals, you know what i mean?
the tea cup moon was tipped over in the sky. she’s new. the desert night has an honesty that can’t be explained. i feel it as i drive back to wherever it is that i gotta go. i feel the truth that is different from the weird lights in the bar, or the guy who is telling me he’s not bullshitting me, or the television that is telling me the news of things, or even the sad nature of the beings that inhabit the bar, who are real but are pretending to be something else. and here i sit in the middle of them all, my presence is my inclusion.
the little coyote that jumped in front of my rig was real. my heartbeat was real as i avoided the coyote. and my mind was torquing around and finding reasons to doubt my direction. man, how i struggle with this shit. we are so sadly in need of distraction. what’s maddening is that my personal need for distraction is my admission of laziness; my own failure to deal with frustrations and stumblings.
right now i’m thinking of some clip i saw from louis c.k. in which he speaks of our loneliness that is manifested in our need to have constant connection through our phones. it wasn’t intended to be sad, but i cried a little when i watched it. we are producing our own lack of being. it is our forgotten-ness. he says something about how when he’s lonely he picks up his phone and sends out 10 or 12 “hellos” to different people just to have someone give him a little attention. and there’s me right next to him in the same boat. me feeling lonely or feeling pity for myself. me fumbling my little calling device to on, searching the names, texting a short hello, waiting and forgetting and returning to normal.
have you ever stared out beyond something that’s close? you know how its there, in your vision, but out of focus? then you come back to it and it clears up and you see the details. well, sometimes i do that with life. i stare beyond the truth for something better (going to the bar and trying to alter reality is a type of staring beyond life). it’s silly, huh?
the winds that howl this very night are proof that we are worthy of being here. we don’t need anything more. there is more wild honesty in five minutes of night than in any broadcast or writing.
this morning, while i sat on the toilet in the privy outside chris and ethan’s house, i saw a raven steal a baby dove from a nest. i felt sad and included in that i had seen it. i love ravens and i love doves. oh well, it was real. and, as i sit and struggle to write anything, even just a single thing that is worth reading, i must remember that life is all worthy of my attention. i may botch the translation between what i see and what i say, but what happens is pretty damn wonderful.
dave grif, one of my friends, told me this: “before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind? is it true? is it necessary? if not, think more on it.” when i think like this, it reduces what i have to say by a good bit. which is a bummer, because i really think i’m pretty smart, most of the time. thanks a lot, dave, with your quiet smile.
tune in later for more of my super deep thoughts.