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  • Writer's pictureTashroom Ahsan

In Praise of Ideas

We are not worthy of ideas.

We live in our heads, and sometimes some cool things pop into them. I make observations sometimes, based on the things that pop in my head, and they can be pretty neat and I’ll write those neat observations down on my notes app. I used to keep a journal where I poetically wrote the thoughts I had based on my observations, because all I really heard was the echoing, echoing, echoing of these beautiful words, both grounded in and removed from reality, tugging me to the pen. These thoughts provoked by life are the things I call ideas. After writing ideas, I would sit and read, and feel, sometimes, something, something I can’t put my finger on. This feeling offered me a question which has lived in my head for a while since: what do we read for? Do we get anything new out of reading, and learn something, or do we, like the narrator in Swann’s Way, just want someone to say the things we think in a way we haven’t already heard them, for someone to articulate me to myself? This led me to the realization that I want ideas. Ideas both ground and propel my mind. Ideas are the world in which I live, and I want the biggest world possible. But I’m not worthy of ideas. They’re too great for me, and I can never touch them the way I ought to, I can’t see them like I should. Ideas should be left away from me, for someone better to contemplate. I’ll now prove this fact more rigorously.

Would you like to come with me on a feed run? Please let me know. Would you? I hope you like me. You and I will submit our bodies to this buggy. We shall move in harmony together, with little effort--the only sound we shall feel will be the engine’s groan (the differential fluid is leaking) and the occasional eagle cry. Let the barrier of your world melt into mine, let us share this sight, let us bear these sounds, let us be with one another. Shall we go? The engine’s running already, I warmed it up. It feels like we’re moving. Now we’re above ground on this hard seat, and our view is framed by the two bars which gesture towards the lack of a windshield. We feel the wind tug our cheeks back. We float above the earth. Thanks for joining me. Let us be with one another. We are.

We’ll go over there, to where we feed the coyotes, beyond the boundaries of the lower ranch. I’ve got a bunch of dead chicks in the back for their feed. They’re the secret feasters--they don’t like to show their face. If you look around, though, you’ll see nothing but signs of death. Gaze upon the valley floor--most of the sagebrush is dead, the rocks are minerals from crushed bones, there are skeletons constituting the grain of each step. Where death is obscured, there’s another sign of it--the departure of humans, human waste; plastic and metal clinging onto the earth, longing for an eternal embrace--an embrace that eternally comes. Human paraphernalia is everywhere, but human life is sparse. We’re at the dead animal dump; the death is merely more naked and fragrant here. Let us feed the coyotes, for we are not, and we are only destined to not be.

Our time here, for now, is done, so let us get back to the lower ranch. I’ll turn the buggy around and we’ll stream down this hill, like an uprooted plant striving to spread its seeds from its aerial grave. The fences close in on us, but don’t fret; they’re meant to keep cows in, and cows are different from humans because if they wore sunglasses, it wouldn’t be creepy because we’d still know where they look. Humans, on the other hand, are creepy with sunglasses on. If these fences were made for humans, they’d feel a lot more claustrophobic, but one word, “fence,” refers to a million different structures--they’re just a pseudobarrier specified for one species; in this case, not us. I’m shutting the engine down so we glide more easily; I’m slumping back and letting go of the wheel, but don’t worry. I do concede that I am about to cry, because no amount of imagery will paint the sight I see, no amount of photographs will color in the lines, nothing will invoke the grandeur of our immersion in this dead, dry sea, in this sight of fences, in this levitation above the earth, in this wind which tugs and the freedom of inertia pulling you along effortlessly, nothing will grasp this feeling because the world is vast, ravenous cave and all anyone can offer through any art, including language, is a starving tunnel. Even us, moving, together, thrown, even we are mediators in our own lives, our ideas interpreting the world, and all we have are these interpretations. The world is refracted through the mind, and this refracted light is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and, well, we’ve hit the bottom of the hill, but still, we are not worthy. Thank God the hill ended.

The hill ended, and we hit the bottom, but we keep falling nonetheless. We’ll end up in New York City, I think, which is a city just like a Woolf novel--dense everywhere, overtly interconnected, and simultaneously moving very little while saying a lot. Our buggy looks a bit out of place on the Brooklyn Bridge, because it fails to subscribe to the general rule of all cars. Cars come in eras, and each era has a distinctive emotion: the early 2000’s are boxy and somber, with Toyotas having muted smiles; cars from the 80’s look like frightened animals; from 2008-2015 cars looked like they were beginning to bodybuild; modern vehicles all look particularly angry. I like to think these designs reflect the general psyche of engineers. Anyways, the Feed Buggy fits into none of these trends, so we’re timeless. We’re still wearing clothes in this buggy, and both of us know that clothes are the invention which caused alienation and loneliness because they removed the utilitarian aspect of cuddling, namely, bodily warmth to stay alive. So we drive to the nearest porta-potty in New York, to reach a toilet, where you and I strip, individually, alone, for the toilet the one place where we could be alone with ourselves without the pressure of effortful, non-relieving production. There’s music, because it’s New York, but I could never pay attention to it--and when you think of music, you hear one line repeating, over and over, because it’s the fundamental background, the epitome of the world, the stage for all your thoughts, keeping some of them out and letting other ones in. In silence you never stop hearing music, in sound you only hear music. When you step out of the porta-potty, I realize that I am not you, and because of that, I am--I cannot get out of my head, and once more I falter before the ocean of death, the desert, the world, the links, the ideas--we are not worthy.

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