Wednesday, January 24, 2007
A Red Rubber Ball
Having already made a contribution to Freedom's Place, I turn my attention to what damage I might create here at "Thoughts". I decide to go surfing thru my favorite blogs to see what's going on with the breathren, stopping first at Dizgraceland, and my attention is riveted by what's on Tim's mind today. I read it again, just to make sure I understand the sentiment. Hmmmmmm. Then I read the comments. HMMMMMM. Interesting. Excuse me for a moment, I need to go somewhere.........
Virtual reality being the state of mind that it is, I find myself strolling up the path towards the gazebo in the town square of Freedom's Place. The skies are leaden and overcast, and a gentle breeze sweeps the square, kicking up an occasional unswept leaf, two metaphors dancing with each other. Then, I notice a little boy, dressed warmly in a woolen coat and stocking cap, tossing a rubber ball at the bulletin board, bouncing it off the cork-board covered in posts. He doesn't exactly look happy.
"Hello, Timmy, what's happening? You thinking up a post?"
He doesn't say anything at first, just bounces that ball, back and forth, back and forth. His brow is pinched, like he's trying to think of the right thing to say. Finally, he catches the ball and turns to me.
"Maybe I don't WANT to post. Maybe I wanna go home. I like my place better."
I stare at him, taken aback somewhat, but I realize he has feelings about this place that aren't all that different from others who have passed thru lately.
"I like your place too, Tim. Matter of fact, I'd bet almost everybody who sees it thinks it's one of the best around."
He stares at me, that look of hopeful suspicion on his face, like he doesn't exactly trust what I'm telling him.
"You think? Well, if it's so good, why did you drag me over here?"
"Tim, I didn't DRAG you over here, I INVITED you. There's a difference."
"Well, fine, but I don't see the point. I have my own blog; I can say all I want there."
"Indeed you can, Tim. We all can. And we all do. Perhaps I can try to explain the point a bit better. Or, maybe I won't, but I'll try, if you give me a chance, OK?"
"Sure, go ahead. Whatever."
I sigh, and gather my thoughts. I glance over at the statue of Tim-Id/Braveheart. He follows my gaze, trying to look serious, but I can see the grin creeping past his serious demeanor.
"Tim, I don't know about the others, but I personally think that is one of the finest contributions we've had here in our town. And you know what? It does more for your blog than it does for us, to tell the truth. It piques a visitor's curiosity and makes them wonder where such a cool thing came from. So, from here, they are led right back to Dizgraceland, where they are able to discover more of what you are capable of. We're all proud of it, knowing we have such a talented member in our midsts. Everybody here in Freedom's place has their own unique contribution, that not only makes this place so special, but makes their own blog a place worth checking out. Freedom's place simply provides one more way for others like us to come together."
"Well, fine, " he grumbles, "but I don't have that much time to be coming here, and what am I supposed to say here that I can't say back home? And when am I supposed to do it? Don't we all have to take turns? It's kinda complicated...."
"Well, Tim, that's the beauty of Freedom's place. It's the very essence of the word. You do what you want when you want to do it, and so what if you are the fifth post in a day, or maybe once in a blue moon? The cool thing about freedom is that it frees you FROM things as much as it allows you to participate in them. You know, as many people came to America to get away from expectations as they did to have the right to tend to their own beliefs and desires. We welcome people of all persuasions and inclinations. They can come and go as they please, and if they feel they only have enough energy for their own personal blogs, well, that's OK too. As for what we talk about here, well, the same thing applies. Community means different things to different people. Some can't wait for the next parade; others you couldn't drag to one if you tried.....we all belong in our own special ways; one is no better than the other. Here, whatever topic floats your boat is fine, there is no format requiring you to speak of any one thing."
Then I point something out that till just now I hadn't even noticed before, a brass plague adhered to a granite stone next to the gazebo. It seemed to sum it all up in a way only the author could have said it......
"I Refuse to join any club that would have ME as a member!" Groucho Marx.
"My friend, if even HE can rest here in Freedom's Place without turning over in his grave, I think the rest of us can survive it."
I glance across the street and notice Whitesnake leaning against the wall of pub, and he raises his mug of Guinness in my direction, smiling. Shandi studies the wall in the alley next to him, wondering what she can do to it to make it more than just an alley, and I am happy to see her here even if she has her own doubts.
I turn back to Tim, who now stands tall and looking very much like the Tim that is all grown up, living in Seattle, and doing the things that only a Tim is likely to be doing in the real world. I offer him my hand.
"I apologize if I somehow invaded your space, but I hope you'll find enough purpose in this place not to abandon it totally. Maybe this will be a ghost town one day, but I think it was worth a shot, and I'll always be proud of the idea if not the execution. I guess if I was half as good at anything as I thought I was, I'd be president now, but we all know that ain't gonna happen. I just want to thank you for at least not out and out saying the whole idea was stupid to begin with. And the next beer is on me if you care to come visit karaoke night over there at the pub. If Whitesnake leaves us any, that is."
Tim shakes my hand, not committing to anything, but I think I see a glint of understanding in his eyes as he flings the rubber ball across the park and heads off towards Dizgraceland. I turn and walk across the street to join Whitesnake at the pub. It's another day in Freedom's place, and I cross my fingers, hoping there are many more to come.