Posts Tagged ‘frustration’

I paid a visit to a man that will soon be 99 years old. He was – at one point in my pre-divorce nuttiness – a lover of sorts (he was well over 90 at the time). He is now a man who I have grown to love dearly, even if his bottom set of dentures fall out during dinner. He’s just that great of a guy.

Then I biked home to my daughter who was curious if I had somehow experienced his death since I had been gone so long (at his age, she reasoned, you really never know)… A very clever teen who is absolutely on the emotional money nearly 100% of the time.

There was a message on my machine from a man who had enchanted me only two nights before and he had me utterly tickled again to hear his soft voice telling me sweet things that (this time!) were of a more personal nature. A man who spoke to my soul because he had said, basically: BEAUTY WILL HEAL YOUR BRAIN. Well, sort of. But it was as if the speech he was giving was the one I had been formulating in my head for years, where you sit there in the audience going “yes! yes! duh! yes! God, I know! yes!!” and your energy is shooting off in all directions as you forget to breathe.

I guess I have a knack for falling in love immediately (and irretrievably!) with brains. That was the case with my 90 year old, that was the case with the ethics and beauty man on stage. Looking back, that was the case with just about every relationship I have ever been in, from the get go. I beg that 50% of the world’s population will forgive me, but normally, it happens to me with members of the opposite sex. It just works out that way, for the most part. With the exception of one or two dear friends and Rachel Maddow – as I certainly love them/her and am indebted and inspired to Rachel by what she contributes (literally daily!) to society.

But falling in love – while nice – isn’t enough to sustain this particular body. Being loved in return is what gets the glow going. Which, although the day had been going better than expected in regards to reciprocity … I was having an awful time with something else:

… the man on my machine made only one mistake during his lecture. He said that designers would have “plenty of work.” While I am sure some do – and what a wonderful thing for them – I seem to be in a process of becoming something else – from designer to ? … what exactly is not quite clear yet. It has evolved into fact that I simply cannot handle the eminently shallow, art and creative directing, better-and-wittier-than-thou and we-are-all-that types in agencies. To their credit, they are doing what they have to do. But are they REALLY giving us true cultural contributions? Ästhetic value? Deeper moral spaces? Now that they have perfect command of flash (after years of code study), are they REALLY going to let us in on something truly interesting, inspiring and culturally relevant? I suppose perhaps some are, but unlucky for me, I have never met them. Would they REALLY also be able to watch a 90+ lose his teeth after biting on roast duck and still not miss a beat in their devotion (or lose their appetite?) because they know what “it’s” REALLY about? Are they loving their own partners intensely against all physical odds (giving birth, aging, too little exercise, gravity)? Are they learning about sharing food with snails in their own gardens because killing all of them is just plain impossible? Are they acting constructively as often as possible on matters of absolute importance to the world? I certainly HOPE so. But I have my share of doubt, and it’s growing. Sadly. So much for the upholders of the truth, the good, the beautiful.

And even if agency life wasn’t so bad, then there are the clients. Clients I have lost only because they found me to be “educational” (the word, when spoken in German, smacks painfully of being a condescending wench that has no business talking to marketing directors like that). Indeed, I had been trying to teach the man about taste. Meaning. Clarity. Beauty. Truth. My career as a teacher at a design school was beginning, so he was a unwitting prophet, bless his naive heart.

Then there are other clients that essentially order you to do things you would never, ever, ever do. And you put up and shut up, or you lose a client. Which, considering that you are now working for less than a third of what you had been able to charge five years ago, you of course do. I’m not complaining about price, I have learned the value – quite literally – of less. But culturally, ethically, you know you are making a mistake. You know you should get up and walk out. You know you should start producing your own dandelion wine for sale at local farmer’s markets before you continue to put up with such degradation for even one more minute. The only problem: you have virtually no clue how to make dandelion wine. And getting the recipe online just doesn’t seem to be the right way to go about it…

And so it goes. Despite all the thunder and lightning, the heat isn’t going away.


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