The Highwaymen released "It Is What It Is" a few million years ago, and while it wasn't a great song, it does have the great lyric "It is what it is / but it ain't what it used to be".
I really wanted to use "You Can't Always Get What You Want" as my lead today, but I couldn't make it work. Great song, though. Play it now, really loud.
I was chatting to a fellow driver the other day. He wanted to know my history, as one does when you're in the initial stages of getting to know the person you're yarning with. But he couldn't work out why I enjoy this work so much, especially as I've worked in positions where I've met All Blacks, Prime Ministers, pop stars, wits, sages, Winston Peters and Paul Henry. He's a driver, but (like me) he's come to the job from something altogether different. He was in IT, made redundant, and fell into driving by chance and WINZ.
And he resents the fate that's led him here. A nice guy, but bitter about the road the brought him to his current stop.
All I could offer him was the line: it is what is is, my friend. To which the Highwaymen would add "but it ain't what it used to be". I have come to this acceptance not through any facet of wisdom, but more from an acknowledgement that the affairs of the world are, without, far bigger and more powerful than my own desires. It's also taken me a couple of years.
We humans are odd creatures. Impressively ego-centric, to the point that every one of us (if we are fortunate enough to enjoy three square meals a day) is certain in the belief that the world does, indeed, revolve around us. We are bound and confined not only by what we see, but by where we see it from. The world presents itself to us through the very intimate portal of our eyes and ears, connecting to our mind / brain which is central to our existence.
The debate still rages about the whereabouts of the human mind. I believe it is the organic brain. Religionists must insist that the mind is centred in the inorganic soul. Animists might believe the mind is centred in the heart. But I digress.
We cannot help but be ego-and-self-centred. The species' survival wouldn't have been possible otherwise. But equally, our survival wouldn't have been assured unless there was a healthy dose of acceptance of the fact that the sabre-tooth tiger is a hell of a lot more powerful than an individual human. Nonetheless, if we're warm and well fed, it is hard to acknowledge the fact that the world really has no time for us as individuals. The macro-economics beats the snot out of micro-economics, the Baron will always bugger about with the peasant, and sometimes the best thing to do is accept what we have (and in my case, I am severely wealthy in most ways that count) and make the most of where we are in our life's journey.
And where I am is this: I've worked hard to learn a new and dangerous skill. I have now spent five days driving transiting human beings about this wonderful city. Literally hundreds of people have granted me the privilege of trusting me to safely deliver them to their destination. I mean, really, how fucking cool is that? It is what it is. It ain't what it used to be. And that's what is so excellent about my new circumstance.
READING (and read): I have read one astounding book in the past week - "Broken Jewels" by David L Robbins. Quite, quite extraordinary. And I'm reading another one: Donald Ray Pollock's "The Devil All The Time". Holy shit! I am amazed by this book. Many, many thanks to Gillian for recommending it.
LISTENING TO: Florence + The Machine, "Ceremonials". I like this a great deal. Such a neat combination of 1980s Glam Rock and soul-searching chick singer-songwriter.
WATCHING: Have seen "The Avengers". Simply excellent. On TV, I heartily recommend "Outnumbered", Prime TV, on Thursday. Outstandingly funny. Also "Fringe", which is so good that TVNZ put it on at 11.30. I've found it pays to check out the late listing on TV1 and TV2: that's when they put the good stuff on.