Chautauqua 4

I am feeling less like travelling, this writing is going well.


Young people are so important in society but it seems they are so easy bought off – no that’s unfair. They are just not listening to old people like me. And I never listened as a child. But as a child I never did anything, I can’t even remember it. As a teenager I remember a vague period of hanging around with some girls – only hanging around never any experience. And outside that brief time I was walking. I walked everywhere in my home suburb. Near me was the Mersey and I walked a long way up and down its banks. And I walked across the suburb as far as 4 miles away. I walked. My teenage years were repressed and I walked to get out of the house. I can even remember a visit when I was late 40s, and I used to walk on the Mersey to get out …. but then it was not the same.

My teenage years was the nearest I got to burying a Phaedrus. I was nasty, and I’m afraid my brother suffered. I also recall a nasty once-off bullying of a nerd at school, but I was a coward so never risked being hit. I was just an immature clown, that was how maturity protected me. Until I hit bottom. I remember a lurch from drunkenness into sanity when the drink allowed me to meet a nice girl when 18. She looked at me, and said I had no friends. So obviously wrong when you saw all the people I hung around with – all the people who knew my nickname. But she was wrong although right – I was not a person so how could I have friends? Around me the drunks had some persona, I was just drink, repression and drink. I resent that lost youth – the youth I never had, but the truth is when I started to be a person at 23 when I hit bottom I was young enough to learn about life - to have a late youth. And I had all the system passports that gave me freedom to make some choices – more choices than most within wage-slavery.

The way maturity, the path, protected me was so much a part of who I was until I hit bottom. I was so shy, shyness was always one of my excuses for drinking – although how I managed to rationalise the obnoxious drunk with who I was I don’t know. But then there was no person so there was nothing to rationalise with. Even 6 months before bottom the path was still protecting me. A year after leaving uni we would meet up. I don’t know what happened. There was this girl, I could never have dreamed she was interested in me – she was a world above me. She sought me out, and I ended on that day walking with her and her friends – I should say hobbling because I had just broken my leg playing football. That was all I remember of the first day, hobbling around after her enjoying my amazement. But of course I was drunk so had some Dutch courage. The next day we left and I was in a bar that I was known for. She came down and sat in the bar waiting for me to talk to her, and I just sat there – shy, closed off, unable to approach her. Another girl I knew there saw what was going on; I was static, my shyness wouldn’t let me move. The dream girl was on her own, she waited a significant time drinking alone, must have been confused and angry, and left to find her many friends. On my way back to London I was in the car with someone who knew her well. I realised my stupidity and asked him to send her a letter. He refuse, he could not believe I was doing anything other than dreaming. 6 months later I hit bottom, and began a proper life; with her I would have been a lapdog she was such a dream I would have followed her anywhere. Protected!

My Phaedrus did not enrage, question, rail against authority. The zen was curled up in a ball inside allowing a persona to mask its presence. What do we put our youth through? We don’t see anything on our young that wants to be mature, what we want to do is find a way that they can settle into being wage-slaves. Of course we never recognise it as that because we never see in ourselves wage-slaves. We want to encourage or young – in the right way. It makes me so angry and sad what is done to young people – and I did it of course because I was a teacher. I had no choice. I was a teacher. I had the choice, mould to what they accepted as teaching, or do something else. And by the time the path had started to kick in teaching was what I had.

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