Clearly Defined

I was talking with a friend today, an older friend who is cantankerous, funny, and often sarcastically insightful. We have some things in common, such as our choice of careers, and we both play guitar, so I enjoy talking with him quite a bit. Today, the topic of some old movies came up. I can't remember how.

One of the movies he mentioned was The Great Race by Blake Edwards, and starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. I've never seen it, but my friend was telling me about how the hero and villain were so clearly defined in the film, with the hero dressed impeccably in a white suit, and the villain in black with a wiry moustache and top hat. The way he described it, it seemed cliche, which was part of the appeal. And it made me think of my own life lately, and how I wished for things to be that well defined, to have that same contrast.

There is no black and white in my life. At least, not lately, not recently. There are various shades of gray, with the circumstances, people, and places residing in that spectrum, somewhere between the light and the dark.

Things are murky, changing, with aspects disappearing, reappearing, losing focus or quickly emerging at the forefront. Primary themes and characters from yesterday exit the story, and there are more questions than answers.

I move from one problem to the next. There's always a challenge, never a lull. Exhaustion is commonplace. One more hill to climb. And there's no shortage of ignorance.

What I wouldn't do for that clearly defined landscape, the good guys to the left, the bad guys to the right. Friendship, trust, opposition to what's wrong, support of what's right. No duplicity, no opportunism. Solace. Contentment. Resolution. Didn't I just fix this problem? Wasn't I on my way? What does it all mean? Does any of it have any meaning?

I find that the question I most often ask myself is "What should I do?", when frankly, the answer most often is "I've already done everything I could."

It occurs to me now that it's not only that clearly defined landscape that I want, but the simplicity that goes with it.


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