Thursday, September 22, 2022


Martha being in Colorado a couple days makes me realize some things I ought to have realized long ago, but being me -- a substance considerably more dense than the marrow of a neutron star -- I had not actually realized: to wit, that none of my problems of concentration or of maintaining self or social ties have to do with Martha's presence: in fact I do substantially worse when she is not here than when she is. I am less likely to read carefully, to stay on task, to keep my diet, to stay in touch with people, to exercise, to maintain the house. I deteriorate by every measure I track, and by every one I can think of that I don't. It is only due to Martha's presence that I am not already a fat and aimless hermit. So there's that. 

Not that I actually blamed Martha for my deficiencies. That is not my way: dense though I am, I am not quite that dense. But I think from time to time I have refrained from blaming her, which is for some purposes the same thing. No, old friend, no: all these tendencies are my own, and all solutions will grow out of the only soil in which any of the goods of my life have grown. 

Throw the windows wide. Comfort poor Van, who is appalled by Martha's disappearance, and sleeps all day on her spot on the couch, not even rousing himself at the sound of a can of cat food being opened. (His consciousness is on strike: it refuses to return to work until she's back). Water the plants. Muse on the variations of cloud building and dissolving, north over the neighbor's gable. Count, if I must. One hundred and fifty breaths is one attempt at falling asleep. Fifteen long breaths, if I'm lying on my belly, opens the subway stops along the lumbar spine. How many before Martha is back? Too many to count. It's only a day, by the reckoning of the world.


--Esto es un disparate, Aurelito --exclamó.
--Ningún disparate --dijo Aureliano-- es la guerra. Y no me vuelva a decir Aurelito, que ya soy el coronel Aureliano Buendía.


Reading Schindler's Freedom from Reality. The first part is a close-reading of Locke, which is just so good and so telling, and illuminates so much about the American political predicament.

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