Setting

~first posted 17 Nov 12

Most of the time I’m not entirely sure where I am. I mean, who really is, most of the time? It’s hard enough just to keep track of what I’m doing and why. Usually, even the why is pretty murky. But the where is just kind of taken for granted. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll pull into my driveway and look up in shock at my house, wondering how in hell I got here. And wondering if I stopped at any of the traffic lights between where I was and where I am now.

Is this a problem? Not really. How often does what I’m doing depend on where I’m doing it? Not very often. Oh, occasionally I’ll find myself at the top of a windswept mountain or completely lost in the woods, but not very often. Usually, my surroundings are pretty pedestrian. The house is unremarkable, unless I step barefoot in a puddle of dog vomit. Suddenly, my setting becomes important. My environment has just started to drive my action. Before I stepped in the dog vomit, I was planning on sitting down in front of Meet the Press with a cup of black coffee and a copy of the NY Times. Now, events are dictated differently. Shouldn’t have given Bob Barker all that left over pizza. Remorse. Concern. The pressure-packed search for a roll of paper towels.

Sorry, Dad.  Bad anchovy.

Sorry, Dad. Bad anchovy.

Usually, though, you don’t want to know much about where I’m sitting. You want to know what I’m doing. Perhaps, you’re interested in how I’m feeling, or why I’m doing what I’m doing or why I”m feeling the way I’m feeling. Do you care about the color of the sunset outside my window? Does the hue of my Hawaiian shirt affect your understanding of my mood? I think not. And all the time I spend in deeply nuanced description of setting, ambiance, or weather; whether poetic or pedestrian, is time spent sifting through detritus in an effort to get back to what’s important.

Let me paint the walls if I wish. Most of the time, I’m not even sure there are walls. Roof stays up anyway.

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