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Wednesday, February 16, 2000

Walking on Water, and The Piano

A friend of mine from the mainland was recommending a particular brand of beer for me to try (I've been trying to take up drinking to no avail). Here's part of my reply:
But alas, here I am in Maui, land of the pure, living in a school. Wouldn't want to tarnish my reputation here as a highly evolved being. Then again, the problem with walking on water too long is that by the time the world suddenly realizes you're just human, you find yourself with a lonnng way to swim back. Maybe I'll just keep walking.

Sometimes I wonder how much that is behind my itchy feet. I love coming into a new situation where people have no expectations of me. Hate, conversely, the way people develop expectations of me when I stay somewhere too long, that they read me as so pure, or so smart, or so kind, or so able; It becomes a superhuman standard I am always on my guard to uphold, probably a standard I set myself at the beginning in my overzealous attempt to be accepted, to avoid conflict, and I suppose, more insidiously, to gain control.

Just to illustrate, if Rochelle (another staff member here-- very smart, kind, down-to-earth) were sitting around here in the evening with a beer in her hand, no one would think anything of it. But if I did the same, people's hair would stand up, eyes open wide, and it would start a long line of questioning in their minds, reevaluating their understanding of me. And it's not like I ever speak poorly of drinking or anything like that -- it's just that I don't drink, that nobody here has ever seen me (or Garrett* for that matter) drink, or heard of me doing it; and I don't smoke (more notable here, since "herb" is practically a kitchen spice); and maybe what really cements it is that I never get upset or angry, that the world can be burning up around me and I'd be calmly looking for a bucket of water and a gas mask, stomping out fires as I went, while everyone else (again, except Garrett*) is screaming and throwing flames. And this is the image we have, and it is how people describe us here, how our reputation propagates and precedes us. And this is all fine and amusing except that it's a long way to fall from and so we have to live up to it. Maui's spiritually evolved duo, who just happen to be atheists. It's all very odd. We expected to be cast out, not revered, and maybe for that we tread so lightly that we seemed to float above the ground.

But if you look closely, we're really just hopping between frames.

The Piano finally arrived today. My gift to the Sudbury school. We'll see how long it lasts. Not a bad deal at $550, for an old Baldwin upright, ex-player piano, with the cost of moving and first tune thrown in since I bought it from the mover and in the process cleared valuable space from the tuner's shop. Two men's junk is another man's piano, I guess. The only thing disturbingly wrong with it at the moment is that the dampers are uneven along the keys, so you can either have some keys that don't sustain, or some that don't stop. There were only one or two keys like that when I checked it out in the shop; now it's like half the keys. Another project. Sigh.

Another email excerpt:

> One of the reasons I would like to live 
> in Europe -- they aren't as hung up on all this crap as Americans are.

Yeah, I have the same sentiment. I have a hard time with the socialism there, though; but then I'm starting to think we're more so but we just don't call it that.

Part of me really wants to live in Europe for a while, maybe indefinitely, for basically the reason you mention above. They're also generally much less religious in my experience.

But I'm not sure where. Holland? Scotland? Bhudapest? I'd like to visit Finland and Hungry -- two places I didn't get to in my travels. But I think by now I've learned that if I actually camped out any of those places for very long, one thing or another about them would really annoy me. (Like in Germany, all the stores close at something like 5pm! By law! And nothing's open on Sundays. Weird shit like that which would just make me feel horribly oppressed.)

I need to clarify these things for myself soon. I just looked at a 4 acre parcel today here... has a building site on a hill overlooking a gulch and possibly down to the ocean (too hazy to tell today). Stream running through the property. Giant mango tree. 1400 square foot house right on the road that would serve as a nice facade to hide the house I want to build way back on the nob... But there are problems.. biggest being that either I'd have to shrink the existing house to 1000 sq ft, or have my custom house be that small. One is the "Ohana"; zoning rules. But I wonder if maybe I couldn't do what I want in 1000 sq ft, by building tall and terraced, with the bottom floor maybe three stories tall, all glass along the front (facing north and toward the ocean so it's good for view and w/out direct sun), second and third floors as lofts, with maybe a 2.5 semi-loft office with semi-circular desk as its boundary; kitchen and breakfast nook on the 2nd floor, bedroom on the top, livingroom on the bottom?

Yeah, right. Just one of a million ideas. How could I ever choose just one?

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com