Surely even the late Roman emperors lived a bland, untitillated life, compared to ours: we are surrounded by professionals, who have made distraction a high art. I watch with some dismay as Facebook ads come closer and closer to the mark, even so queer and difficult a mark as me: why, there's the new book by my friend Murr Brewster! And a person could go study drumming in Africa! A weekend of meditation on the Oregon Coast, wouldn't that be a grand way to start the new year?
What happens, when things we actually want are dandled constantly before us? Do we become more or less susceptible? I am not sure, but possibly less. So much of clutching comes of a fear that this is our only chance at something we want: the pros run the risk of showing us, cumulatively, that there's a constant supply of the things we want. It's even possible that we might back up and think about wanting itself, as a frame of mind, as a way of being in the world.
Well, I don't imagine that troubles the pros very much. Let us think, and toy with the notion of an unworldly life! We'll be all the more discontented, in the long run.
The curtains glow with sunlight; the vinyl breasts of the booths gleam. Oblique winter lights ricochet across the cafe. It's good to be alive, to taste even the lukewarm lees of coffee at the end of December, to see the three posts of the milkshake machine glow like swords, and to imagine that summer might come again. Summer comes by stealth, these days; all seasons do. They spring at me without warning. Tomorrow could be high summer, and women wearing thin linen dresses, and yellow-jackets clustering on dropped fruit. Or it could be snow falling around the streetlights, or wet red leaves turning to mush in the gutters. You never know. The clasps that are supposed to hold me in time are so loose, now, that sometimes I think they're going to lose their grip entirely.
Where was I? Oh yes! Distraction and discontent. Well. Two can play that game!