[Crosswalk, January 2000]
Here we are. Over the doorstep and into a dazzling new millennium, fraught with magnificence and fear, and perhaps with consequence — hard to tell at this point. At any rate, we feel pretty dazzled and quite self-important. We’re alive *now*! What an achievement! What did we win?
At this shimmering moment it’s embarrassing to confess that I seem to be in a body. That may seem unlikely in this buzzing electronic context, but take my word for it. In fact, I’m sitting here pretty much surrounded by physical objects. I think God’s trying to tell me something.
I sit at a 150-yr-old farm table that my father and I refinished twenty years ago. On top is a year-old computer; it’s more obsolete than the table. What a jumble is strewn around the computer’s base: stamps, tape, stapler, mouse, coffee cup, old glass bottles, post-it notes, pens, a small painted horse, hair clips, phone, and perched on the lamp base a small icon of the Virgin of Vladimir. The flowers my husband gave me last week are slowly shedding petals over all. It looks like an aerial view of traffic around the L’Arc de Triomphe.
The turn of a millennium should be a moment for lofty thoughts; with a little effort I could be paralyzed by considerations of my first column for Crosswalk, my first writing of the century, my first, oh shoot, I broke a nail. I am plagued by delusions of significance, but physical reality keeps dragging me back to earth. No matter how impressive I look on screen, in realtime I’m stubbornly imbedded in something short, chubby, graying, and forty-seven years old. (Well, my husband says I’m beautiful.) Somehow this undeniably upholstered state we find ourselves in is God’s idea; we will not be saved without it. We have things to learn from it.
One of my favorite humor writers, Richard Armour, described a character in a fairy tale as disappearing into thin air, “making it slightly thicker.” I hope to consider in this space manifestations of the humbling and exhilarating real world we all share, and to glean from these some insight into our age and time, where we are and where we’re going to wind up. I hope to solidify the vaporous world of the internet somewhat, ideally, “making it somewhat thicker.” So, once a week — a “Found Object.”