An acquaintance comes into work today to update the town’s website. We talk back and forth, little details here and there, the mechanics of putting the website together and how the pieces of democracy work: minutes and transparency. The public can and does come to Selectboard meetings with requests to move roads and complaints about cowshit spilled over roads. Our conversation tips into philosophical territory. Nearing the end of a challenging week, I’m drinking my 46th cup of coffee that morning and espouse that we’re in end-stage capitalism. Sometimes we behave very badly. Sometimes, not so.
I am not at all a Facebook fan, not a FB reader, but all week I’ve been dipping into the stories people have posted about Ray McNeill. So many stories, some from people I once knew very well. I lived in Brattleboro when I turned 21, completely alone in an apartment over The Shin La, a Korean restaurant still in operation. One night, I closed Céline’s Death on the Installment Plan and went out in the rain. Even then, I was a loner. I didn’t go to public places alone. But that night, the rain fell so hard I ran into Three Dollar Deweys. My friend Debi was there. In those days, she lived with my ex-boyfriend. She came up to me and rubbed my long hair with bar towel. We played darts for hours. The bar lights shone out into the falling rain.
“The beginning of genius is being scared shitless.”— Louis-Ferdinand Céline