Thursday, April 16, 2009

Someone to look up to

When L. and I were in the hospital, we watched the documentary Man on Wire instantly on Netflix. (A perfect choice for man on chest tube.) I loved it, and I was pleased to read that star Phillipe Petit is now saying “he will perform a high-wire walk this fall in Midtown Manhattan. The New York Times writes, “It will be high, it will be long, and it will be outdoors in a very recognizable location that he does not want revealed quite yet — arrangements are not final.”

After reading that, I couldn't resist chasing down a couple of other Petit articles, including one about Petit's long-time, somewhat eccentric interest in post-and-beam barn-building, and was delighted to find some interesting thoughts there on uselessness from Debra Winger:

Ms. Winger allowed as how Mr. Petit had been “a sort of muse” since long before she met him. “The metaphor of a life on the wire,” she began, “the idea of being too busy to be afraid, these are the things that spoke to me.”

“If Philippe would wear a swoosh on his T-shirt, he could walk the [Grand] canyon yesterday,” she said. “If he would do a reality show. But he’s a purist, and that’s tied up in the reason he’s up on the wire. But we need this ‘uselessness.’ I find that the things that are useless in life free us in a way that nothing else can. ...”

Perhaps she overstates his "uselessness," however. Petit, who is an artist in residence at Cathedral Church of St. John Divine in New York, is the only person there with the guts to change the lightbulbs in the building's towering chandeliers.

As for me, after all this self-flagellation about "bearings," I think I am going to turn to beautiful uselessness.

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