In the end it’s all about access to resources, is it not? In this age of the demise of the commons of every order of plant-mineral-vegetable, the DNA of life licensed, chemical compounds and ideas of electric gadgets leased between versions, or the private ownership of sea, land, air and water, the thesis of society’s contract made increasingly moot in these times of plenty, in times of want. We, who abandon to the Hamptons, have grown warily comfortable with the idea of private ownership of the universal resources our planet, of the fruits of our industry and creativity as a species and have failed to imagine more sustainable structures of civilization than barbarous relics of pre-potlatch cul-de-sacs of social organization.
The Magna Carta, the Hammurabic touchstone of this waning millennium of modernity itself, is molding in the dustbin of historic anecdote, amid letters home from all boys on the front in every war fought in the past 800 years; wars which have bled us of youth and treasure that we might secure more perfect nations. Amid the postcard hopes of farm children and city dwellers in the parochial of our kind’s recent past across the globe, dreams of sustenance, health, and happiness; the Magna Carta lies like a dim photograph of the last wave of hope to have swept our shores.
The world now stands at the edge of a reconciliation of the universal gifts of birth and the contest to property, private ownership and the attendant lack thereof, which serves to sustain such conceits as ownership of limited things. And in the narrow gauge of our ability to recall the fundamental altruisms which have sustained our kind for hundreds of thousands of years, “…the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack”, we now find ourselves in one of those rusty yet luminous switchyards of history; to track toward complete forgetfulness of the fundamentals which bind us to common cause, or a regeneration of the spirit of the commons, or other unshaped trajectories of homunculus which times of change attend upon the shores of such historic moment; wrapped in seaweed and covered with sand.
And so I was up. I was on the road and I was there before the hoarder made their dark surprise to begin the queue, that they might corner the toast supply on this fine Sunday morning. I arrive toPierre’s as the shade is being raised and, so, make my way within, and, so, here I am. I am now the first, the first to arrive at the basket of counted loaves, the finite supply of Sunday morning happiness. I am there to, to, what, triumph in my clever victory over those who choose to rise and live a Sunday morning with deeper gentleness?
In that moment I startle to find myself in the position of having unlimited access to a limited supply, Pierre’s makes but a mere couple dozen or so of these brioche based delectables, and, so, I found myself standing there as a Gulliver in foreign shoes. Was I now the insect who finds the crumbs of desire and carries off the thing to a burrow of loneliness without regard to others who might want or need a thing as well? Am I not now, in this moment of choice, given the opportunity to the gallows or to the spirit of commune, given the choice to take the bulk of the basket of loaves or require a share merely for the needs of this birthday morning.
The clerk waited quietly, and, I am sure, distracted and amused by hay in my hair, the discrete confusion of this moment and, of course, the ungodly hour, for my request. Yet, in her patience I glimpsed, just faintly and in that moment, the eyes of theGuernseyon theShelterIslandferry, felt the collective memory of a millennia of squalls approach, the rising seas. I smelled the salt air in the beginning of ourselves and reached deeply into that part of our kind, steeped in the memory of those small altruisms which ultimately carry us each to Bridgehampton patisseries on Sunday mornings everywhere.
“Two”, I said. “Two almond toasts please.