Friends and Acquaintances
Jerry and Einstein
I don't visit much these days and go all over the place. Otherwise, I'll never get anything done. When Jerry called, however, I couldn’t refuse. We haven't seen one another in over 2 years. We would run into each other when I was working part/time, both escaping to Starbucks. I sipped zen tea, Jerry caffeined up on their coffee. Ex musician, small business person, partaker of various stimulants, collector of unemployment, one could relax around Jerry. He would draw you into his world, such as the quality of the design of his most recent resume. You didn't mind because it took you mind off of your own 'stuff.'
Like many people in Florida, Jerry survived as a 'fringe' person. From a good background, Jerry lived in an apartment his brother owned while he presently worked worked in some technical sales job, not making a lot, but something. When I knew him he started to work part-time at Total Wine after a stint of collecting unemployment.
The duplex was immaculate and comfortable, full of various antiques, many owned by his brother the doctor, some by Jerry. While there Jerry played some jazz music, not pure jazz, but jazz with some electronics creating a spacy feel. The wide screen T.V. was on with the sound off, I think showing a tennis match.
After talking about his new bike, how big it was (now they are height based), and how he needed it after his other bike was stolen, Jerry showed me his photo for his facebook page. It was horrible, a picture of an obnoxious looking man (an entertainer with too much make up) holding a good guitar (which Jerry pointed out). The man in the picture was somewhat like Alfred E. Neuman, not in specific looks, but in character, or lack of. He had a vapid, ridiculous face with too much pasty makeup. Jerry was punishing his 8 followers.
Jerry considered changing it to a pic of tires from a used junk yard. When I asked him why such a choice, he said he's tired of pics of kids and dogs on facebook. Then I understood. Jerry was thumbing his nose at everything with his pics. It was his way of saying ''I'm not impressed” to all the self serving and self content postings on facebook. I said 'I got it' and kiddingly added “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Jerry added 'it's just facebook.'
While this was happening and while sitting on his comfortable Ethan Allen couch and sipping wine, I picked up a picture book with brief quotes from the life of Albert Einstein. The photos reflect different stages of his life. One such quote said 'that while living in this world there is always a tension until it is time for us to go.' Einstein was a good observer and thinker.
Another quote stated 'how thankful he was for all the lives of the men who built a body of knowledge that he was able to add to and that he was part of.' For a year when studying art I was conscious of what he was alluding to. I felt connected to the past back then and was thankful. Later, for a variety of reasons, I left that environment, went my own way, took different paths, and ended up learning and evolving alone. The pull was towards authenticity. The risk was isolation and self-deception and reaching a dead end. Einstein's words made me yearn for a community of intelligent like minded people linked to a past of the same. One would be part of a whole, and the body of knowledge of previous craftsmen was the heritage to be absorbed and added to. I realized how I missed that link when going it alone. But there had been no choice.
The other quote which particularly struck me, again to paraphrase, said 'one should practice and become competent at one's discipline, and not have it depend upon blessings from God.' In other words, work at what you do as a person with your own intelligence and thinking and common sense and instincts. Let it stand on its own in worldly terms. To link it inappropriately with God and blessings is courting danger. Be aware of God but act as a man. To act as a spiritual being when performing in the physical realm is mixing dimensions and risking failure. Oh my.
I've had a little trouble summarizing the latter, but hopefully something comes across. Both statements made me think about my own 'path,' my own troubles. Both applied to me and to my decisions. Both made me a little concerned for myself.
Jerry and I decided to end the night not too late. When I got home Jerry called and asked me to look at the picture he picked. I did and it was a colorful painting of jazz musicians. He had broken his code of 'protest' and put something up that was enjoyable to look at and I told him so. Jerry and Einstein were on my mind into the night.