I left the pub chuckling and shaking my head.
“Shit,” I upbraided myself, “what part of yesterday’s blog post didn’t you get?”
In that post I had quoted Goethe. It went: ‘My things could never be popular… they are only for the few who desire and look out for that kind of thing, and are doing something like it themselves.’
How I fell into conversation with the young man I forget. He was going for the popular lumberjack look, plaid shirt and all. He informed me that he was fairly new in town, had recently landed a job with the city, and had studied literature for six years in university.
“Oh, that’s nice,” is what I should have said.
Instead, I fished out my little soft cover edition of James Joyce’s thrown upon the fire in desperation manuscript of Stephen Hero and slid it across the wooden bar to him. Naturally, merely having a degree in literature he had no idea what he was looking at.
Unable to restrain myself, we chatted for some time on books and authors before I finally had the sense to let the conversation peter out.
It wasn’t long before he was chatting excitedly with the gal next to him about Twitter, YouTube, podcasts, cult films and video games.
“Fucking idiot,” I silently muttered, referring to myself and not him.
“Bloomsday is for the masses, Dedalusday for the few,” is a saying I’ve coined in my blogs and YouTube videos to sum up my take (and Goethe’s too) on Joyce’s monumentally misunderstood classic Ulysses.
It’s at the core of what goes on here at the Cafe, actually. It’s why I don’t play the promotion game, subscribing so others will reciprocate, take part in any of the exponential mutual awarding.
It’s why, I’ve come to learn, the Zen masters of old would hold their peace until asked a question. There is no teaching or instructing those unwilling to learn, closed to something new, not participating in the learning process continually as an integral part of the very flow of Life.
It never fails to astonish me though how closed most people are, how finished, become and no longer becoming as a guy like Goethe might have put it, how incurious in spite of the years spent in pursuit of their ‘education.’
“Oh well,” I smile and shrug.
Two young, attractive professional looking women just stood up nearby. I overhear one describing her symptoms of anxiety to the other.
It’s the second time in three days I’ve overheard a smart looking professional type confess to feelings of anxiety.