One morning, a lady next to me wrote a magic spell in the bus window frost. She took a picture of it and sent it to her boyfriend and when she got off the bus she was smiling. Then I took a picture of it and sent it to my girlfriend and I was smiling, too. The days have their charms and they tend to come very early or very late.
I got a loop track of the ocean crashing and listen to it often, because I want to ignore the gallery of beefsoaked morons that always seems to be closing in. Alone in bed, out on the street, when you are a teenager, even when you are 27 years old: if you don’t want to hear what’s going on around you, you can always listen to your headphones.
I got my routine at work, my water drawn and set and drank, my woodbox soul caparisoned for the day in the manner of a tired old show pony. Yesterday I went to a work conference which was on the topic of happiness. There were questions about it, like what are its constituent parts, and can it be effected or do people come into adulthood with more or less a set level which you can see offhand by whether or not they bum you out. There were tips: sometimes the efficient cessation of discomfort is more valuable than wild abandon, for example. One speaker proposed a heuristic framework for evaluating how likely an internet application is to induce happiness. There was very little in the way of magic. There was this question hanging in the air, “where are you now,” which is how you ask somebody at a conference what company they work for, and not, as you may think, a question being asked of each person by their own childhood self brought to the present as a haunting.
I’ve been thinking…
Isaac Babel said:
Study and you will have everything–wealth and fame! You must know everything. The whole world will fall at your feet and grovel before you. Everybody must envy you. Do not trust people. Do not have friends. Do not lend them money. Do not give them your heart!
1) Do what you ought to do.
2) A tree is known by the fruit.
3) Watch yourself.
4) Don’t lose your cool.
We went to Texas and we slept in the woods, we slept on the floor, and we stayed in a house in a yard full of cats. It got so cold at night we couldn’t sleep much at all. Texas feels different and slightly dangerous, and the food has a stronger and saltier flavor. We woke up once to what we thought were turkey sounds but they were screech owls. All I want to do there is look around, drive around, look at her, with a heightened sensitivity to all things like I’m stricken blind of a sense I forgot I had.
And now I’m back! My email says: your opinion is worth thousands of points.
Another says: delight your users. Delight!
I go to lunch and we all stand in line for food at the trucks. There’s a ten minute walk between our building and the nearest restaurant which is discouraging enough that they bring in the food on trucks. The building has hundreds of windows and its own zip code. The building knows when it is too sunny and so can darken itself.
People cut in line, striding up to join their factions with their buckskin derby shoes and what seems to be involuntary geniality. Conversations like the back of a baseball card. Home: Oak Park. Kids: in school. Work: coming along. An extensive body of literature on the banality of office culture exists and every day it is ignored. We live our answer to the question: how and when would you like to die? But every day it is ignored. It’s still a land of plenty after all. Our word hermit comes from the Greek word for desert.