Monday, October 21, 2013
monday thoughts: the idea of beauty
I love Fresh Air. Terry Gross interviewed the sublime David Sedaris last week, and their conversation was charming and sweet; they reminisced about a shared meal back when Sedaris was still drinking. (He ordered nothing, preferring to drink on an empty stomach. "You ordered an omelet and a baked potato," he reminded Gross.) One thing really struck me: Gross asked Sedaris what he does with his time, now that he doesn't have a day job, and he said he picks up trash on the road near his house in England. (Apparently the British are big litterers?) He does this, he explained, because the tiny one-lane road to his house is "my idea of beauty." And of course it's ruined by all the litter. So he picks up the trash, sometimes on foot, sometimes on his bike, sometimes with a crew from the local government. He listens to language instruction on an iPad to keep himself from getting annoyed by the whole process.
I absolutely love the image of David Sedaris with his council-issued jumpsuit and grabber, pausing to pick up rubbish on a country lane. And I love that phrase, "my idea of beauty." He used it twice to describe the place, as if he's thought about the words and their importance to him. I think he means to say that it might not be *everyone's* idea of beauty: someone might prefer a tropical beach, or stately skyscrapers, or the wide sky of the American west. But this is his, and he wishes to preserve it.