Reality shakes

I’ve been reading Howard Zinn and now need to see one of Bob’s favorite documentaries, the autobiographical You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train. Zinn’s title alone is a knockout, right up there with the title Sartre gave to his autobiography (The Words) or Hazel Barnes gave to hers (The Story I tell Myself), food for appetizer if not full thought before hearing out the text behind it.


I finished my current Zinn book at an early supper at Henry House, but just barely beat the crowd, it being Friday evening. In spite of the building’s evident solidity, a particularly heavy footed group made the room shake a bit as they snaked between tables to their seats. This jarred me from my reading with that singular thought that too many years in California seem to have buried near to my consciousness even yet: earthquake tremor! But of course not.


My apartment building, being less well built, shivers and shakes at all hours and without much duress, although not much sound penetrates the walls of my unit. I have almost–but not quite–stopped reflexively diving when a shimmy shoots across the floor or along the table top. Perhaps it is all a reminder that neutrality is not an option in life itself, that I am forever aboard a moving train.

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