Saturday, December 8, 2007

George Carlin on Pace, Progress and Love

A Message by George Carlin was sent to me today. I found him eloquent, reflecting on my earlier entry in this Blog about "Pace, Progress, and Hecate"(November), and felt like copying it here.

A Message by George Carlin

The paradox of our time in history is that we spend more,but have less, buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We write more, but learn less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait.

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind. AND ALWAYS REMEMBER:Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. If you don't send this to at least 8 people....Who cares?

George Carlin

Just the other day I was talking with a friend who had lived in Tempe, Arizona. Tempe is the home of ASU, a mega-university, and is part of the vast sprawling urban complex that Phoenix has become. She lived there in the early '70's - my memories go back to the '50's, when I was a child.

We were talking about the "Tempe Beach". Actually, I was doing the talking, because she never heard of it - but I remember the "Beach" vividly. Back then, Tempe was just a little college town, and in the '50's, only rich people (very few of whom lived in Tempe) could afford a private swimming pool. The Tempe Beach was a huge public swimming pool that took up a whole block, and in the summer, when it was too hot to swim in the day, as soon as the sun went down families arrived with towels in hand, to swim, and eat hot dogs and ice cream from stands at the "Beach". It was a riotous scene of kids in plastic swimming caps and boxer shorts leaping in and out of the pool, a legion of life guards, flirtatious college students posing for each other, and young families socializing at picnic tables.

The "Beach" is long gone, and public swimming pools like that are pretty much long gone as well. Private swimming pools are very common now, and people can swim with all the "privacy" they could want in their own back yard, along with spending a lot of time and money maintaining that privacy (not to mention the enormously wasteful water use all this privilege of "privacy" requires). But I doubt, even with the obsession Americans seem to have with insulating themselves thoroughly from contact with "strangers" - that there aren't many people like myself, who would take the color, fun, and crowds of the "Beach", if they could still get it.

The demise of the "Tempe Beach" reminds me of the demise of the "diners" my 90 year old mother still remembers fondly (at 90, she does a lot of time shifting, and I think the faces and tastes of a diner in New York 60 years ago are more vivid to her now than anything on her morning tv tray) - breakfast, for her as a young working woman, involved a whole community of people. A restaurant was a bunch of people, cooperating to share an experience called "breakfast". Her eggs came with a waitress, cooks, dishwashers, and the regulars she got to know by virtue of eating there regularly.

For me at least, a disposible egg mac muffin and a throwaway coffee alone in the car on the way to no good tradeoff. Not just environmentally, and nutritionally, but emotionally and psychically as well.

As I write, I sit in the Epic Cafe, with its free wi fi,. Most of the little round tables here have laptops on them and people emersed in cyber space (like me). Some of the people have earplugs on, and not a few have their cellphones on the table. They're doing business, schoolwork, whatever. I don't know how I feel about it. I suppose, because I'm here, I've given up and joined the parade.

1 comment:

Robert said...

I learned how to swim at Tempe Beach in the early-ish 60s. Red Cross sponsored the program.

At our "graduation" program, teachers threw $50-worth of change into the kiddy pool and let us kids duke it out underwater for a fistful of coinage...and THEN they tossed 3 goldfish into the adult pool. Any kid who captured a goldfish won a shiny silver dollar.

Ah....those were the days.