Ithaca Blog

Friday, February 06, 2009

Awesomeness in the Modern World

From what I hear around me, there is a surplus of awe in the world today that is practically phenomenal.

Almost every day, I achieve an act of awe. At least one. People tell me so.

It happened today at the store. The cashier told me what I owed, and I said, "I'll give you cash." And the cashier said, "Awesome." I got the same response the day before when I told the cashier I would pack my groceries in the bag I brought.

I'm not trying to awe people, which I think might hinder their duties or ability to concentrate, but it doesn't seem to, so I guess it's alright.

It's funny that so many people are so awed in an era when radical innovation is so commonplace, and the people who express the least awe are the ones who ostensibly should feel it most.

If my father, for instance, who still has a rotary phone, is awed by the fact that people today have private conversations in public spaces, including rest rooms, for example, on devices that can also take pictures, and are out and about in public rest rooms, he hasn't let on.

Maybe it is just younger people, who are naturally exuberant, although when I was younger, there still was not so much awe. I do recall there was a certain appreciation of "excellence," and maybe a surplus of that.

I do remember probably awing this kid Frankie DeRizzo, once, when a group of us were walking through the park, and I spat, in an arc in front of me, and kicked the expectoration with the toe of my boot into another arc of perhaps 25 feet. Frankie didn't realize that it was an ice cube, and not a gob of saliva, so the laws of physics and chemistry had not really been circumvented, as he thought. But he didn't say it was awesome. He said something unprintable, and then something incoherent, and I soon came to realize that his perception of the situation was affected by some plant matter he had smoked. I do, however, think he was pretty much awed, at least momentarily.

I don't mean to suggest that all these awed people are smoking plant matter. I hesitate to think what things would be like, if they did. Phantasmagorical, I guess.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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