Of Insouciance

There are a great many things about which I am taking it easy, and a great many more things about which I could take it easier. Taking it easy, being somewhat indifferent, showing a casual lack of concern: Oh, let me count the ways I have become, or would like to become more, insouciant.

I am taking it easy about the fact that I have not been on my bicycle through the whole holiday break–which is now a little bit more than half way over.  I am taking it easy about the fact that the closest I have been to bicycles is on a showroom floor or via various kinds of internet bicycle porn.  Don’t get me wrong–I have not been looking at people performing sex acts on bicycles, but rather, looking at websites that are geared toward making the visitor desire a new bicycle.  Granted, that’s a very different kind of porn, but nonetheless, porn. I am taking it easy about the fact that I desire a new bicycle.

I am taking it easy about my son’s use of screen time.  I monitor it closely, participate as often as I can, create limits or restrictions when necessary, but I am guilty of letting slip the limit of two hours a day during this break.  Some parents might say that even two hours a day is too many. These parents are not old.  I’m taking it easy about the fact that I’m an old guy with relatively young loin fruit and I can’t always be, nor should I be, even if I had the strength of a father a decade younger, managing my son’s every minute.

Now that the election is over, I am taking it easy about politics.  I haven’t argued with anyone on Facebook in quite a while. By the time of this blog post, the fiscal cliff deadline will have passed.  Did we fall over the edge?  You tell me. I haven’t watched Rachel Maddow in two weeks.  I miss her, but I’m okay about a break in our relationship, although, I must say, I’m kind of pining.  I’ll be taking it easy about the fact that I might not be able to stay away from her for much longer.

I am taking it easy about the fact that I took no grading home with me from school.  It will be there when I get back, I’m sure of it.  I haven’t picked up a book in a week.  I picked one up last night for the first time and read for a couple of hours.  I liked it a lot, but I’ll be okay if I don’t finish it.  I am taking it easy about the fact that I often start books I don’t finish. Oh Moby Dick, someday I will return to you.

I am taking it easy about the fact that I’m writing for my blog and not on the new novel.

There are other things, as I have indicated, that I would like to be more insouciant about–but I realize, I think, that some of those things are too personal for this venue.  Or, if not too personal, would require more space for exploration than I can afford right now.  Maybe there will need to be an  “Of More Insouciance” entry.  “Insouciance Two.” “The Return of Insouciance.”  “The Bride of Insouciance.”

Insouciance, insouciant–these are both really cool words.  I think words are great, and sometimes students ask me why we have to have so many damn words.  I try to talk to them about shades of meaning. The best word is the right word, or the right word is the best word, and it may not be the one that’s been sitting around forever, but rather, the one that strikes  just the right pitch of intended meaning, and you need vocabulary to be able to do that.  Words make thought possible.  If everything was good or ungood, people would, like they do in Orwell’s classic, cease to think about things. And that would be terrible.  So, here I am, on New Year’s Day, feeling rather insouciant.  And that’s different, I hope, from not giving a shit–because I do give a shit about a whole bunch of stuff–but today, January 1, 2013, I give less of a shit than I sometimes do.  And I’m okay with that.  Happy new year, reader.  I am not, nor will I ever be, insouciant about you.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

3 thoughts on “Of Insouciance

  1. Your essay and the word ‘insouciance’ have just the right pitch, I think. Happy New Year Michael. Elinor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: