Fear and Loathing in Palo Alto

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In spite of a lifelong love of the likes of the Beatles, I’ve never been tempted to try mind-altering 1202-yuckchemicals. There are several reason for this: one, I suppose, is the fact I’m such a straight arrow to begin with; another is that my brain is my second favorite organ, and I intend to protect it; and third – by far the most important – is the fact that what I see in the world is already horrifying and surreal enough. Day to day, I’m already on a really bad trip, and it pertifies me to think of what I would “see” under the influence of MDMA, LSD, mushrooms, or any other Tim-transformers.

I was reminded of this a few minutes ago, because I was walking through the Stanford Shopping Center, and out of the corner of my eye, at a distance, I could tell a female with a short skirt and a revealing top was heading in my direction. I have really good peripheral vision, so even when staring at my iPhone, I have a good sense as to who or what is coming closer to me.

When I glanced up, though, I swiftly realized what it was that was approaching: not just one, but two, rather elderly women, both of whom were dressed in a way which, simply stated, would have been perceived as kind of skanky even for a good-looking 25 year old.

Why? Why on earth? Are these women so desperately afraid of aging that they have to pretend they are 25? Are they under the impression that their appearance will perhaps attract attention from the males of the species? They simply struck me as pathetic.

Of course, I tend to have a fairly bleak view of humanity anyway, so my impression isn’t much of a surprise. But there’s nothing wrong with growing old gracefully, surrendering the things of youth. What I saw today, in a word, lacked dignity. And that’s something this poor, battered world of ours could use. It just makes me sad.

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