The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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Wednesday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My long walk on March 14th continued along Newtown Creek, and I visited all of favorite places west of 48th street. Vainglorious thoughts cause me to refer to my circumlocutions of the Newtown Creek as a “patrol.” Irregular in schedule, it seems that about every six weeks or so, I walk the entire shoreline of the waterway, and have done so for nearly fifteen years now.

I really should have gotten into building model airplanes or something.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Dark and lonely is the way I like it. Sure, there are passing cars and trucks, but I’m the only pedestrian usually. It’s actually a bit surreal, truth be told. Moving about in the veritable geographic center of NYC, and more often than not – complete and utter solitude.

It’s been a panacea during the pandemic, I tell’s ya.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I grew up without siblings, so being alone is normal for me. Unfortunately, what’s going through my mind during these long walks is a non stop review of all of my failings. I really work myself over psychologically during these long walks. Why? Well, even if your Jewish mother is dead, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do to yourself what she used to do and rake yourself over the coals for every mistake you’ve ever made dating back to potty training.

A particular quirk of mine involves the way my memory works. I don’t remember anything good that I’ve done or said, instead the milestones in my psychological roadmap revolve around failure.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sleights or arguments – those stick around. Complimentary relationships or personal victories are soon forgotten. I’ve gotten better about this stuff as I’ve gotten older, but in my late 20’s and early 30’s it was crippling to exist behind these eyes and between the ears. On this particular walk, I was processing painful memories retained from when I was in Junior High School. Pedantic, huh?

For the curious – I remember being embarrassed, and hoping that nobody who has ever met me as an adult would find out about that time in 7th grade when I decided to wear a pair of “Tale Lord” jeans to school and was roundly mocked for months about it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, I was reminded by a cousin of the great esteem one used to espouse for the band “U2,” in my senior year of high school. Given that I barely listen to that outfit anymore, but still stand behind the statement that the albums “Boy” and “War” were pretty great, I grew embarrassed about that too. Working myself over about all of the stupid things I’ve said and thought over the years…

Part of this thought process revolves around the aging process. We are all different people at different times in our lives, and the trick is to accept that as the years stack up that you’ve evolved – hopefully. That trick eludes me as – since mentioned – my focus and lattice of memories are built on a foundation of professional and personal mistakes, and saying exactly the wrong thing at exactly the right time. My internal Jewish Mother will never let me forget about failures.

You’re supposed to succeed, what do you want, a medal? Mr. Big Shot, remember the time you shit your pants when you were at cousin Nancy’s first wedding in Washington when you were 4? Your father was so embarrassed he had indigestion for the entire Carter administration. What about the time you…

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Saying all that, I positively feed upon all of this ennui. Wouldn’t do it to myself if it didn’t have some positive effect, right? Maybe it’s why I work so hard and so often. Why I strive to try and not be a Dick.

Tomorrow – something completely different, at this, your Newtown Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 11, 2022 at 11:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. The Phantom of the Creek.

    georgetheatheist . . . pedantic peshmantic

    May 11, 2022 at 11:52 am

  2. It’s not just Jews. Welcome to the club.

    Liman

    May 11, 2022 at 3:22 pm

  3. Thanks for making me look up circumlocution. I think I understand what you feel, however I was never inculcated with Jewish guilt, it was not part of my upbringing among family and fellow synagogue members. Instead I sense in you the curse of perfectionism. I suffered from that too. I am retired now for 10 years but my dreams even now drag me through my failings in a 40 year career. I have to concentrate to recall my achievements which are numerous, as opposed to my mistakes which seem numerous but were really relatively few, but they hurt me so much due to perfectionism, and they still dominate my self regard. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Best wishes to you, Mr Waxman. Be kinder to yourself, you are a good guy.

    dbarms8878

    May 11, 2022 at 10:21 pm


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