Monday, May 14, 2007

Lucky Life

I'm not a very thoughtful person.

Of course, my mind is always roiling with thoughts and speculations and perennial anger at politicians, so I am often lost in thought (thought-full, you might say). But I'm referring here to the other meaning of "thoughtful"... my awareness and concern for others is somewhat lacking. It may be a core selfishness or some genetic flaw, but my wives (first and second) and children and grandchildren, my relatives and few friends, have come to know me as, not uncaring exactly, but as mostly absent and often impatient when not--quick to end phone calls, quick to clear the table after a meal, wanting to "cut to the chase" in conversations, more inclined to be reading or listening to music or lost in a movie theatre, preferring to be alone.

Rather than thoughtful, I consider myself watchful--alert to words and their subtexts, often instantly aware of people's/strangers' emotions, quick to react to something I've observed, easily moved to tears or laughter, but a watcher rather than a player, a witness rather than an active participant. And that's how most of my life has passed, from 1943 to the present, watching the world progress/regress, seeing aspects of society alter for the worse (yes, and some few for the better), taking a Luddite's position on most technological change.

I can hear someone sneering, "Really? Then why write a blog?"

The answer is that, by accident, by grace, by dumb luck with little action on my own part, I have frequently been in the right place at the right time, again and again, participating (even if at one remove) in much of the popular history of the later Twentieth Century--from the McCarthy Hearings to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, from Monterey Pop to disastrous Altamont, from interviewing Gram Parsons, Jim Morrison, and many others to writing and producing Rainier Beer ads in their heyday, from having a secret connection to the birth of Starbuck's to standing next to Queen Elizabeth at a horserace, from backpacking around the world to owning a bookstore frequented often by musicians and movie stars, and now finally to buying and selling books and records on the blessed/cursed Internet.

The answer is that I have actually witnessed much more than the preceding short list, and I would like to leave a record, however small, detailing that lucky life.

So bits and pieces from that life as witness will appear here from time to time. Stay tuned if you are curious.

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