I guess I’m saying people relate to others through themselves. And that that is always the case. They will always see a bit of themselves in that person. And it isn’t how similar the stranger is to the judge; it’s how similar the stranger appears to the judge, because it all lies in how the judge sees them. Once again, this is all inside the judge’s own mind and he is using himself as a platform to relate to people. I suppose it’s slightly existential. -Kurt
Donald had an issue. He agreed with the entirety of Kurt’s response. He could pretend to play Devil’s Advocate, but then he would come off as cranky. Donald hit this wall on occasion. The mental corner of an argument run dry. A frustrated response wouldn’t be the solution. He knew he would need to sit on his thoughts for a moment, maybe propose a new theory.
Maybe, he would run into Dagny again. She had added Donald on Facebook about three major parties ago. He had hoped her circle would be in attendance to no avail. He desperately needed to speak to her. Was she her name’s sake? Was the ghost of Ayn Rand blocking Donald from calling her number?
Donald met Ayn Rand in junior year of high school — a copy of “Atlas Shrugged” in the back of a friend’s car while on a film shoot. The back posed the question, “Who is John Galt?”
Donald wanted to know. He wasted a week of reading to find that John Galt was no one he wanted to know. He read “The Fountainhead” and found it could possess a faded beauty. Rand, Donald decided, was a poet with the sense of a duck. Stalin had that effect on people.
Donald heard the rap on the door. It was time for him to head out with the Commander for food before a day of spliffs. The Cook was welcome to join, but you didn’t see him before Dusk on weekends and sometimes not until after midnight.
The Beacon Street dining commons have a patio conquered in the 90’s by the musical theatre majors. Freshmen rehearse midnight to dawn dreaming of the day they are awake enough to enjoy Sunday brunch. Their dorm is on the opposite end of the commons over on Tremont. The College of the Stage and the College of Letters are housed downtown and share the flagship location along with The Tower, which focused on communication theory. The College of Visual Arts and The Conservatory are down in Back Bay by the old symphony hall and the Castle. The Technical Institute was housed in South Boston by the warehouses and mafia-run gay bars.
Everyone was a double major. Donald worked with the College of Letters and The Tower (Literature and Media epistemology). The Blond Commander was a member of both the College of Visual Art and the Technical Institute (Fine Art and Installations). The Cook was of the College of Letters, the Conservatory and the Technical Institute (Playwriting, Music Theory, and Culinary Arts). The Cook never stopped like some Alaskan day.
Donald blushed as he thought of how he damned his chances to explore the city. A student could live at any of their majors’ Colleges. The Blond Commander lived by the Castle but trekked to the gardens all the same. The Cook lived downtown across the Gardens and Common on the corner of Boylston and Tremont. The family dinners he cooked for his friends made their alcohol poisoning survivable. The Cook’s bike got him to back alleys of Southie and whisking in the school dining hall where he worked by dawn. Playwrights haunted the halls as they scavenged evacuated stages to splinter their skin and gain their desired ethereal connection. The Cook’s people fought the sun and he marched onward for everything one marches for.
If Dagny was about brunches on the street level patio, Donald could aspire to mimosas and all the discarded yolks his heart could withstand. It was good to be a faceless author.
The Trio however did not dine inside the building or outside on the street level patio. Rather the dining hall staff permitted The Trio to dine on the roof and lent a blind eye to the strange juices camouflaged by fine China. The roof overlooked the Public Garden and had been empty when they first gained access to it, but now the surface looked like a well-furnished coffee shop. The tables had been gained on a truck ride to New Hampshire and the chairs made in North Adams. The sofas from Craigslist. It was a luxurious set up with personal loveseats, end tables, main tables, and lanterns.
A Midwesterner like the Commander had his uses. The Commander had also wrangled table side service into the bargain. The Cook worked the occasional shift and stored a minifridge for personal requests. They rigged a buzzer system to prevent any unwarranted visitors.
The leaves had begun to pile. Donald had purchased a set of rakes and shovels. They had attempted to turn a Pacific play tunnel into a garbage shoot as to avoid the long walk up and down the stairs.
The weather had begun to grey and the leaves began to murk. Their palace faced severe issues, it was built for summers.
“The snow is going to be an issue,” Donald said as they hauled down garbage bags of leaves. Tax deductible donations were Donald’s folks’ game and the Brahmins concurred with their opinion. The money must flow. Damn the building codes.
“I’d say the cold gets us first,” said the Blond Commander as they sat back down on the couches on the roof. His speech slowed from the climb up the stairs. He pulled out a blunt and lit it
“I thought you had rewired the heating lamps down stairs, the staff said we could use them if we fixed them”.
“That’s a ton of energy to blow; we can’t be sending miners down to die for that”.
“What if we built something like a sun porch?”
“You go on your sun porch in the winter?”
“What if we throw some ventilation into a greenhouse? Would the lamps would work then?”
“That’s some cash.”
“I can swing it in a few weeks”
They smoked for a moment in silence. Family wealth can be a sensitive subject in these times. Donald estimated the green house worth budgeting into his ten million a year investment based income. The dreaded moment of being responsible for his own wealth was approaching. He avoided the subject.
“What do you think I am?”
“Not sure. Outwardly you’re quite blank,” said the Commander.
“You still dress in the clothes your mother bought you”.
“What gave it away?”
“That’s Billy Joel, Donald.”
Donald had never shopped for himself or anyone else on any other occasion. He had no patience for it. Clothes were to cover your shame if his teachers were to be believed. God will provide for all; nuns don’t recycle. He just needed enough cover to get him service at most chains.
“What’s my style then?”
“You tell me.”
“We need some shrooms,” said the Commander.
There comes a time once or twice a year when man (in the Tolkien sense of the word) must break his mind in order to restore it. Donald turned off his screens and ventured into the wilds of New England. When the day had the dying warmth of August with the breeze of the coming fall, one could decide without the pressures of history, with the knowledge that clouds still moved and rivers would flow. The fear of self being ignored for Donald now lived past the age of Myspace when social media was a Wild West of Freedom and Expression. In the age of the minimalist Facebook and Twitter, only crafted responses need reply. Tumblr would kill Blogger and turn WordPress into a Land of Would and Might Be’s. Original expression was something to fear. Donald needed less sleep. Dreams killed.
Donald would never intern and he thought that must say something. Somehow the idea that a 30 million budget can’t find 8 dollars an hour to pay a servant struck Donald as un-American. A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s labor. It built the Pru and that was something to talk about. Instead, he volunteered in service to his community. Fahrenheit 451 was written in a library. No one wanted to build America anymore these days, except Donald and he had too many living relatives to fund anything. Too many John Galts.
“People relate to others through themselves.” Kurt’s words explained the appeal of Personal Objectivism, the core of every notion was the Self. Most people just got over it.
Donald buzzed for coffee.
“We should get a Mr. Coffee up here. I think there is an old one in the basement”, said Donald. The Commander and he still relaxing on their private rooftop patio on the dining commons.
“You don’t need to keep covering up with that frugal stuff. It’s okay to be rich. I’m not here on scholarship either.”
“Who said I wasn’t rich?”
“You certainly don’t dress it and you always try to hide your purchases, not that I don’t appreciate this setup.”
The Blond Commander pulled out a massive Sherlock pipe and his grinder. He dug into his messenger bag for a freezer bag. The Commander selected five long buds and brimmed the seasoned wood.
“I did buzz a few moments ago, maybe we should wait to get high until after the coffee is delivered. We wouldn’t want to be kicked out before midterms,” said Donald.
“Maybe the library needs a new wing to go with the restoration, we can get a little high and the school can get a little nicer to overcharge tuition”.
Maybe it did. Donald lit up to a smooth sensation. These were not the Midz he was looking for. White as snow to the average eye. Everyone comes from somewhere and some come from a long beginning.
“Does the Cook know?” asked Donald.
“Nah, and does he need to?”
“I guess not.”
The numbed throb of the past night’s alcohol poisoning held Donald in limbo. Existence tore at his bones and robbed his mind of speed and function. He’d hold on for the next 12 hours til the poison returned to his body.
The door opened and the dining hall worker, DHW, delivered two towering thermoses of relief. One of the chefs from Jersey had shipped in some good porkroll. According to the chef, it was apparently one of America’s national treasures and a secret that was in part guarded by Nick Cage, at least according to the DHW’s sources. Donald knew the follow up.
“Can we get that on the usual breakfast bagel pile with a mellow mushroom pizza?”
“Yea dude. That might take some time though,” said DHW.
“No problem, I can get you cash later or give you a half of Diesel now,” said the Blond Commander. He took over as head diplomat, it was his birthright. The Genteel Rancher, a man of action and elegance.
“Half an O?”
“Pound,” as the Commander passed over the bag.
“I can accept this as proper payment.” With that DHW disappeared from behind the girl, hopefully to arrange for the shrooms and more importantly a taste of what this porkroll was all about. Donald was a patriot at heart after all.
“You overpaid. It would be cheaper to cultivate them yourself,” said Donald
“Usually is and who says I don’t,” said the Commander.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to offend,” said Donald.
“Don’t worry; it can be a dangerous topic in certain circles. I could show you how it wasn’t that big of a loss, but let’s not discuss it here or now or for a while,” said the Commander
“I get my trust when I turn eighteen in a few weeks and wouldn’t mind making some lifestyle investments; I figure I got some cash for a foundation without hurting the core,” said Donald.
In the noon sun on the roof, they enjoyed their coffee and burned deeper into the mound of green. The clouds soared past. Donald enjoyed when one could easily notice the movement of clouds, across the sky – a billboard advertising the flow of the universe.
But it still moves…the statement that shifted Donald from his scientific pursuits for a life of beauty. As much as Donald confessed, he still couldn’t achieve anything more than cafeteria status with the catechism.
Their breakfast arrived. Donald’s brunch consisted of a bagel with cheddar, bacon, ham, porkroll, and 3 eggs. He usually ate it with a breakfast burrito on the side, as he preferred his sausage intake in tortilla format. His mother believed in Pepsi for hangovers and Donald believed in being dutiful.
Pancakes got involved shortly after. Donald hoped that the shrooms would arrive post midafternoon burgers and wings and the supper of barnyard burgers, a fusion of bacon, chicken, and beef which he had dreamed up. Donald hoped it would be a wicked midnight. A romp through the cobbled Northend and a splash or two in Columbus Park. Had the pollution in the harbor made the jellyfish glow? He could only hope. The Gypsy Bar had glowing jellyfish, but that bar was the insect zapper of the city. The jellyfish trapped the people within the dress code of the vacuous.
“We need to get a library up here and a projection screen,” said Donald.
“I’m looking to invest.”
“Decadent,” said the Blond Commander.
“Maybe, we should get a house in Allston out by Harvard Ave. They have some nice basements out that way. The top can be a gallery. And maybe get another house to have offices and studies. I want one for digital purposes and another for more serious matters. A shared study for discussions. A kitchen and offices for the Cook. Whatever studio space you require and same for study. Emergency bed space,” said Donald.
“Two Ten-bedroom houses should work with enough porch space and backyard space to have some outdoor events.”
“I will miss our breakfasts here”.
They sat silent for a moment
“The Cook awaking before dusk would be travesty, he sleeps too much. I only ever see him at night” said the Commander.
“He might be a vampire or maybe secret daylight friends who he isn’t embarrassed to be seen with. Should we expand the Trio?”
“I don’t think the Cook is embarrassed to be seen with us, I think he just runs out of booze and crashes. I would support inviting someone to join for the morning hours while the Cook sleeps or where ever he spends his daylight?”
“An addition to our circus of ideas with one day degreed clowns,” said Donald.
“It would be a pointless search, the Cook is irreplaceable. I just wish he wouldn’t sleep all day long. I thinking living with him could cure that,” said the Commander.
Donald lit a cigarette, an American Spirit Light. The yellow box matched his disposition and he preferred his smoking breaks to be marathons. 20 years ago, he could have smoked indoors and he would have no need to take breaks.
“Back to the place in Allston. Maybe we need a third house that is a library with a media playback room as well.”
“It would be an uninsurable tinderbox but it isn’t bad to support the arts”.
Donald smiled. He would have his books. He may still be tabula rasa in fashion, but he would not be alone. Donald stretched out on the sofa beneath the clear autumn sky and curled up so that couches arms blocked the breeze.
Sofa naps are a time honored tradition to be protected above all obligations on an autumn weekend.
“In every room.”
They would not be barbarians.
Donald closed his eyes, comforted by the knowledge that the Cook would be there with DHW’s surprise upon awaking.
Donald dreamed his eventual message in a form close to the final.
I believe I can agree with your statement of “people relate to others through themselves”. I think that might be a good conclusion to this topic for the moment possibly. If so, I have a theory for you:
Opposites can’t succeed as a couple. Sure opposite attract only until the novelty of the differences wears off. Then the pair is sure to fail due to the lack of common ground.