A century is a house of a hundred year. Each decade is a wing of the mansion. I myself am embarking on my fourth corridor. We are entering The Eighties.
I am told that the Eighties decor will be a striking contrast from the hallway we're now leaving. The Seventies of course were all Danish modern and track lighting, jogging suits and fabric on the walls. I do hope the Eighties will be different. I hope there'll be a decent place to sit.
What are my hopes for The Eighties? There are two approaches to this question. One is as interior decorator, the other, as exterior observer. In other wordS, there are certain things I'd like to see included in the Eighties and certain things I'd like to see come out of the Eighties. something worth remembering. Something to get us to the Nineties.
But first, the interiors. In this ten room, ten years Eighties wing, I'd like to think there'll be more room to shrink. We don't really need more space, sincr space is infinite, we just need people that seem smaller due to a deflated sense of self importance. Not smaller ideas, however, for ideas unlike furniture don't clutter up a walkway. Egos, like furniture, do. If we could combine the design of freedom of expression so functional in the Forties and Sixties, with that turn of the century industrialism and idealism decor, we might have a really nice romper room with which to start the decade.
A friend once told me that if humanism worked, feminism wouldn't be necessary. I'd like the Eighties to be the era in which feminism became obsolete, humanism started to functon properly, and other interests finally bested self-interest off the best seller list. I'd like to hold an Eighties garage sale and get rid of phrases such as "bleeding hearts" and "political expediency" once and for all. I'd like it to be almost run of the mill to care about your brother and sisteR, especially the ones that once lived in the same house you did. Or the ones that stll do. This may be only your second corridor. I'd like us all to think of each other on a first name basis, even if we can't quite place the facE.
I'd like the Eighties to be paved with carpets, not with other people of less fortunate circumstance. I'd like the halls to be lit by inspiration, not borrowed incandesence from a fast food philosophy that promises enlightenment in two easy lessons or your money back. I don't want things to be any more difficult than they already are. Things are never more or less difficult than they ever have been. I just want people to admit that times are tough and that that's OK. We can still have dessert after dinner, if we finish our vegetables.
I want the paintings on the walls of the Eighties to say something. I don't want them to shout at me. I just want to be able to engage in a civilized conversation with them the way I can with any self-respecting canvas hanging on the wall of the Renaissance or Bahaus. Is that asking too much?
And PLEASE, no more graffitti. We've got to stop defacing one another with unsigned wall sized threats. There's a study and a den in here somewhere. Maybe the Eighties will return us to a time of letter writing and other more risk-filled and heart-felt forms of communication.
Last but not least, how shall we underscore the next ten rooms? With anything except marching band music, and that includes its hybrid form, disco. No more disco, no more war. It's as simple as that. A pacifist can be a rock 'n' roller; there's no regimentation in rock 'n' roll. In disco every one marches to the beat of the same drummer. And bass player. Two guys got all the giggs. Is it any wonder the status quo is so desperate to see us boogie. I, for one, do not want to get down. "Get" isn't even a proper verb. Who invited "get" into my essay? Waiter, please escort "get" to the previous decade. Thank you.
Also, and for reasons having, absolutely nothing to do with the military, I'd like to see in the Eighties the end of all accordions.
But now, what about the outcome of all this? When we look back on what's about to happen, let's hope we've invented nothing, and discovered much.
Maybe we can also bring back a few golden oldies, like the cha cha and courtesy. Cream of Wheat and kindness. Mallomars and manners, a veritable feast of good will (and good humor -- the jokes and the ice cream). Maybe we can develop a sweet tooth for sweetness. It's not fattening and the only decay sweetness promotes is the decay of apathy and cynicism. Out of their mulch might grow a garden of active concern, not silly dahlias of "Oh, isn't it awful" but functional plants that do somethingm in the form of feeding and healing and nurturing a world. We all have to fit in this one house you know. If we move, we move together.
Two more hallways and we'll be out of this house for good. House number 19. Our next home is a geodesic dome called the 21st century. After we've explored each angle of that new adobe, we'll move again. I have a feeling that the 22nd century domicile will be either one of two things: a space ship. Or infinity itself.