Monday, April 27, 2009

Feeding On My Hiatus

You've all seen the Taoist yin-yang symbol, the curvaceous, circular conjoining of dark and light, black and white, each with the opposite colored circle in each's independent part of the overall circular shape? Perhaps an illustration would be helpful, but I've searched on the internet for the better part of an hour and can't find a single one.

Let me try to describe it a little better. You've got an overall circle, OK? But the circle has what looks kind of like a "6" on one side and a "9" on the other side. Let's say the "6" is black and the "9" is white. The "6" then has a white dot in the fat portion of the number, and likewise the "9" has a black dot in the fat portion of the number. They are together in a kind of opposite-attracting harmony.

Taoist philosophy teaches us that these two are "going at it" in an eternal relationship. Perhaps the relationship is a struggle, being at each other's throat. Perhaps they have joined forces against a common enemy and set aside their differences in a truce. Perhaps they marry and live happily ever after. One thing they can't do -- insofar as I know -- is break the circle, you know, with the "9" having a restraining order against the "6" and the "6" suing to keep the circle and kick the "9" out. Rather, at some point in eternity past, they made their bed and now they must lie in it ... together.

The "9" can't at this point wake up and look at the wrinkles on "6"'s face and seek out a younger partner. And the "6" can't say the "9" hasn't made a good living for her and that she wants someone richer. Each is in that everlasting struggle -- kind of like Grandma and Grandpa Slump were, till death did them part with Grandpa's non-suspicious demise in 1978. Only at that point, I guess, could the "6" hobble along as an independent entity. It could end up in a nursing home and play footsie with an old guy across the table, or accidentally brush body parts together while trying to get around the cleaning lady's wastebasket in the hall. For the most part they won't do this, since many of the sensors in our body parts shut off when we're around the age of 75, and, they say, the feeling conveys no pleasure to either person.

All these truths have a bearing on me and my hiatus. We have been locked in a fierce struggle. I sought the hiatus and took it. Then I woke up to find I was in bed with, alternately, a lech and a lump. The pleasure is no pleasure and the pain is all pain. I'm looking at wrinkles, the failure to make a living, constant stress from uncouth noises, and the added egregiousness of my wounded pride, having lost all my "friends" and "followers" by my dalliance, then blind alliance with this worthless, insatiable partner.

Just as the black and the white revolve in that eternal circle, and just as the "6" has to make way for the "9," so am I locked in by the foolishness of my choice. I was tricked. I was seduced. Now I can find no way out of the circle. The hiatus is feeding on me. I am feeding on the hiatus. The hiatus knows it will end if I end. But will I end if the hiatus ends? That's the question that is causing me the most grief.

Did I not start the hiatus? Can I not end it? We know, of course, that starting something is different from ending it. Even biology proves this conclusively. Does a hiatus, once started, have the right to continual existence and place? Ethicists wrestle with that problem. I need one to let me know! With the mutual feeding-on that we speak of in the "6" and the "9"'s relationship, can we even be divided at this moment ... without one of us having to die? Or face other existential consequences, including perhaps both of us ceasing to be ... mutual assured destruction!

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