I am badly in need of a vacation. I have been waiting for Thanksgiving to roll around, but alas even two weeks away is an eternity.
Because of the general fatigue, my reading speed has dropped to an all-time low. A mere 75 pages a day, if that. It’s not the books I fault, but a certain malaise that nags at me. Why does literature matter? It does, don’t get me wrong. But in prioritizing reading and responding above other things, am I not the apolitical parvenu remaining blissfully ignorant in Stalinist Russia?
November’s election: oh, how to fight off the bitter aftertaste! And why is the right so angry? They won this motherfucker!
Writing is pathetic. We’re talking 400 words or so a day and that involves staring at a screen for about two hours, putting a ZoneAlarm Internet Lock on the comp. And even then, none of it matters. Not the poetic descriptions of vagrants fading into urban colors, not the dialogue involving choices. We’re talking earnest questions that nobody wants to answer. Understandable.
I have been trying to avoid all political news. Fallujah, rigged elections, mandates, tax code readjusted for the rich. But this, apparently, is an impossibility. My moral concern about my country has eaten away hours of my time — reading news stories, replies, angry bloggers, the like. Before I know it, it’s 2 AM. The sad thing is I haven’t a clue as to how we can win. A few general ideas, sure. But nothing within my current existential purview. What a waste!
Invariably, people want to talk politics in social clusters. And I’m sick sick sick of it. Somehow, everything else seems trivial. You can’t talk about a winning restaurant or a fantastic feeling someone had last week without coming across like a complete and utter cad. To resist social discourse is to be Donne’s island, but it all leaves me feeling spent and secluded these days. And so I’m reluctant to chatter or socialize, even when I force myself to. Plus, I am now very cognizant of stupid people and I don’t like these elitist impulses.
There are strange people taking away the solitary time I need during my weekday lunches to remain a happy and sane person. And apparently I’m not alone. The strange people in question have sensed the dip in cheeeriness and have brought in their efficiency experts and their positive values programs and their Leo Buscalgia rhetroic (accompanied by milky New Agers who resemble the palette of Cream & Wheat and cherub-cheeked bald guys who haven’t smiled convincingly since 1986), and it all makes everyone feel uncomfortable. And they are rebuked in whispers.
There is a general feeling of defeat in the Financial District. People are overworked, nobody’s hiring. This is the new American way — at least for the next four years. And while one can complain, the general sense is that one should not if she expects to keep her job. It is much like the mentality behind the Great Depression. Guilt for having to settle within a socioeconomic archipelago of overqualification.
There are surely better ways to eke one’s existence than this.
I have no shame about how these points are interpreted.
I’m a cheery soul and I’m fighting every impulse that resembles that moment in Happiness where Ben Gazarra willingly applies the salt to his meal. As long as I exist on this planet, I will not throw in the towel. But I weep at the growing batallion of Gazarras who have seemingly infiltrated every urban hot pocket.