Last week I was introduced to a new lunch spot by a transplanted-to-Edgefield friend. The place -- Barristers, open since July, is darling, the food delicious, the proprietor, also transplanted-to-Edgefield, gracious. I always enjoy time with this particular friend. This visit, however, was different and I think it had to do with the place. When another friend suggested over the weekend that we get together for a conversation and lunch this week, I suggested Barristers and now I know it's the place. Even with a difficult topic to discuss, I liked being in that spot, feeling like lingering.
I've been doing a lot of thinking on long daily walks about myth. While, in truth, I don't know every much on the subject, not having, for example, read everything the late and legendary 20th century mythologist, Joseph Campbell, wrote on the topic, I wonder if myth isn't a driving force in the lives we lead. Each one of us has a personal myth; it says something about who we think we are. Groups, nations, religions all have their myths. Those myths speak at some level to a truth, often more accurate at the would-like-to-be level than they are factual.
One of our national myths, it seems to me as I despair over the news when I can make myself watch, is that we are a peaceful, peace-loving people. We'd like to be, perhaps, but are aren't, perhaps never have been. We're always at war somewhere. Crime -- violent-to-whitecollar (violent in its own way) is a foregone conclusion at every level of society. And, we we are seeing with increasing force and clarity that we are a people unable even to talk to each other, to be civil, our discourse and debate (terms largely misused) hot, loud and mean. I wonder where we are going to end up.
What I liked so much about my lunches at Barristers, I know, is all tied up in my own myth. That little restaurant with its air of calm speaks to me, to the person I would like to be -- but am not, at least not enough of the time.