Monday, November 12, 2007

On Being Claustral

On Friday night, a friend and I went out to the bars. The object of the expedition being overtly to have fun, and covertly to stake out the scene associated most commonly with society, or the meeting of individuals, with an intention of taking stock of the possible entertainment or felicity that such company might bring. I am not a bar-goer. When I do once in a blue moon go, I have exactly the same reaction to the experience that I did the time before. One of complete apathy, and of instant boredom. Oh, I am content enough in the company of the persons I go there with. But a quick survey of what surrounds me reveals time and time again, only one thing: bars are filled not only with smoke, but also with a load of stupid, idiotic people. The fact that I live in a college town possibly only exacerbates such a situation, because the people in the Ames bars tend to be possessed of all the arrogance of youth, and none of the worldly experience which serves to temper said arrogance. All I am reduced to doing at venues such as these is to making a few desultory remarks and to trying as hard as I can to appear engaged. I would gladly focus on the person I am there with, but focusing on anything beyond a two foot radius is pure torture! I daresay that all this might make me appear incredibly pompous, but there it is... I can't help how I feel!

What makes it such a terrible pity is that the few people I would dearly love to meet in such bars are unrecognizably lost in the massive crowd of intellectual vacuums that surround them. What is an even greater pity is that since such public stomping grounds are virtually the only avenues where people get to meet other people, I have been forced into choosing a claustral life. The ablative of accompaniment is well-nigh absent from my life as it is today. I don't regret it... no. Au contraire, I revel in it. I am amused... and I quote bits of one of my favorite poems by Dyer, which I should probably adopt as an anthem…

“My mind to me a kingdom is;
Such present joys therein I find,
That it excels all other bliss
That earth affords or grows by kind:
Though much I want that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave…

Content I live, this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice;
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies.
Lo, thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring…”
~Sir Edward Dyer.


ian skidmore said...

Do agree. Especially at this time of year when bars are filled with teetotallers who give us drunks a bad name because of their behaviour. They drink beer, then whisky, then gin, then sweet sherry and then " What was that we had in Majorca, Mary?"
The English pub ain't what it was either.
Thanks for your correction by the way. Certainly not a mysoginist, though am now far too old to prove it.

ian skidmore said...

“Owain Glyndwr” is a history of the Welsh rebellion against Henry 1V. “Island Fling” and “ The Magnificent Evan” are two comic novels,” Marines Don’t Hold Their Horses” is a book about a very brave friend of mine who was captured by the Japs and after the war taught English in an American school, Forest Hills., “Forgive Us Our Press Passes” is my autobiography and not to be taken seriously. My favourite is “Gwynedd” which is the story of the Welsh county in which I lived for thirty years.

By the way you would have hated Marshall if you met him. He treated women very badly. I must say that most of the intelligent company I have enjoyed were drunks! When a teetotaller wakes up that is the best he is going to feel all day

ian skidmore said...

Good for you. Hope you enjoy them