Thursday, January 17, 2008

the middle, in the middle, in the middle, in the middle of the night

Okay, get ready, I'll be going FAST here and you're just gonna have to keep up.

Okay, so I keep a paper diary in addition to this this ... this blog thing ... and I'm up in the middle of the night a lot. I guess I have to admit, in some ways, I really love being up in the middle of the night.

So in my paper diary, conveniently located next to my bed, no wifi required, here in the middle of the night, I wrote ... you know, like in INK, with pretty cursive girl handwriting ... "I'm up again in the middle, in the middle, in the middle, in the middle, in the middle of the night," and as I wrote it I was singing because it's a song.

Do you know the song? It's so old and so far-fetched, there's no way in hell you could possible know this song. But wait ... this coo-coo bananas Internet never let's us forget a frigging THING, or shall I say more respectfully, it always lets us remember EVERYTHING.

When I was a little girl growing up in New York, there was a song about TRAFFIC SAFETY and not crossing the street IN THE MIDDLE, IN THE MIDDLE, IN THE MIDDLE, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BLOCK. Of course, it's the kind of total trivia you figure you'll never be able to recall, explain or relate to others. Just mental flotsam and jetsam in your own private brain swamp.

But no. I drag myself out of bed, away from the paper diary and off to the Net and blog and what do I find? Holy crap and Christmas -- here's a piece by Marc Fischer of the Washington Post talking about it and here's the crazy jingle song, which I remember very well. GO LISTEN TO IT NOW.

Did you ... and is it annoyingly stuck in your brain, in a place where you might have solved world hunger, or come up for a cure for cancer or something actually useful, but now this jingle is taking up that place in memory.

Anyway, the odd thing is it's a good warning, to try not to get killed in traffic, but what is truly weird to me here in the middle of the night (notice I refrained from repeating the refrain five more times, just thank me once) is that other generations could go quietly into that dark night -- old age -- and forget the idiots they graduated with in high school (not anymore thanks to the Net), and forget past loves (don't ask), and forget lyrics to dumb jingles (don't get me started on the trusting the Texaco man who wears the star and doing my holiday shopping at Robert Hall this year!) , but not our generation, we've got this big collective memory book running after us, and some days, and some nights, or some middle of the nights, I gotta wonder, is that really such a good thing?

We live in a time of lots of loss ... we move house often, lose jobs even more often, are at war, are terrorized by the ongoing campaign to remember to feel terrorized, we see tsunami, hurricane, casual devastation on a regular basis ... but we have this Net that never forgets, never let's us lose anything?! Are we outsourcing our mental clutter to the biggest "poubelle" (go Google it) in the world? And if so ... WHY?

Of course, back to crossing in the middle of the street, every New Yorker prides himself on crossing in the middle of the street. Like a matador, slim-wasted and daring, in those sexy shiny Spanish pants, no NYC'er can resist dodging dangerous murderous angry bulls, dressed up as SUV's and Hummers and city buses on Broadway. Death-wishers all. We want to go out in a blaze of glory, or blood and motor oil, a few Sabrett's hotdogs thrown in. What the hell are we doing?

I'm crawling back into bed to finish my book, to hell with the morning. It's "Love Again" by Doris Lessing who is just so deliciously good. It's about the dangers and risks of falling in love in the middle, in the middle, in the middle of your life.