Walking Cross Town. A Good Walk Spoiled.

Just another day.

Walking cross-town to the office.

Paddling in an introvert’s dichotomy soup – preferring to be held in the comforts of Home, of the Known, yet, nourished by the anonymity of the city. The City. Where I can walk for days, for weeks, and never be recognized, and never recognize anyone. Where you can walk for blocks in your own head and remain peacefully undisturbed, in your anxieties, your doubts, and flashes of unexpected wonder.  A small dog on a leash, sniffing, then pulled by the owner, both navigating through the rush hour throngs of feet. I watch them. The branches of a Japanese bonsai tree in a small green patch fluttering in a wind gust, as the hulking, soulless gray skyscrapers glare from above. I look back to carry it with me. A bird, or a small flock of birds, sailing in the wind tunnel of 46th street. My arms are pulled upward to sail with them. There are these few, so few, that rush to park upfront, for immediate recall.

So I walk. I’m left alone. Whatever the day, and no matter the weather. It’s my time.

It’s Tuesday. Same landscape. Same story. Same velvety cocoon.

Your name is called out.

You are sure it is a mistake.

You keep walking. You don’t acknowledge the shout behind you.

The call is repeated, a rude awakening from a deep sleep, in the midst of a beautiful dream.  This good walk spoiled. Shattered. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning

My life is quiet.

There is little beside working and walking.

I have no desire to see people, and I feel as though I am waiting for something new and strange which will burn the unburnt side of my soul.

~ Kahlil Gibran, (1912) from “Beloved Prophet: The Love Letters of Kahlil Gibran and Mary Haskell, and Her Private Journal” 


Notes: Photo: Sébastien CHAZALET (Annecy) with Alone.

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


Notes: Illustration by Pascal Campion with Quiet World. Inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky, from “Notes from Underground” (1864): “I want peace. I’d sell the whole world for a kopeck this minute, just not to be bothered.”  (Source: )

Flying North N.E. AA1263. With Track Suit.

An introvert’s sanctuary. Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport. The world’s 4th busiest airport. Giant footprint. Take trains between terminals. Get lost among the crowds, the lines, the heavy foot traffic. Near zero probability of seeing anyone you know.

I pass through security. No random check. No single coin in back pocket triggering body check and palm swab for explosive residue.

I walk.

I pass a line that spills out into the concourse, and down along the wall. Chick-Fil-a. How good can this really be? Didn’t realize Chick-Fil-a served breakfast. Make a mental note. Must try that. But can’t risk it now. Middle-aged thing sprouted out of nowhere. Stomach, formerly cast iron, now leaky.

I look for an overhead sign pointing me to the Admiral’s Club.  10 gates down. Texas does it big here too. Large (very) facility, high ceilings, a refuge for business travelers. Quiet. Soft lighting. Spotless bathrooms. Cushy leather chairs.

I walk.

I look down at my black sneakers. When your work life has more than ample amounts of stress, you de-risk all other elements.

Like my attire. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning

It is time to just go into a cocoon

and spin your soul.

~ Sheila Heti, How Should a Person Be?: A Novel


Photo: Chelsea

Saturday Morning

late summer

Solitude isn’t loneliness.

Solitude is when the entire serene universe

seems to surround and hold you quietly.

Victoria Erickson


Notes: Quote via Counselling Blog. Photo by Marta Bevacqua

Driving West Side Highway. With Chip off the Old Block (not).

It’s 5:40 a.m. An early jump to beat the morning rush to mid-town Manhattan. I’m in a 50 mph zone, and traffic is blowing by me as if I were standing still. No matter. I’m not chasing them, not today.  I’m on the West Side Highway. Manhattan condo’s tower overhead on my left. Hudson River flows silently on my right. Sun is rising and casting a dreamy glow over all things. Passages from Richard Powers’ new book (The Overstory) flick through consciousness:  It’s morning like the morning when life first came up on dry land.

And the mind panned from Now to yesterday. From Richard to Rachel. To my Rachel.

Rachel’s birthday was yesterday. She took the day off and came home. “You don’t expect me to work on my birthday do you Dad?” With Mom and Dad both working, she was going to spend the day alone at home. Now that doesn’t seem right.  I cancelled meetings, worked from home and scheduled lunch with Rachel at the Rowayton Seafood restaurant.

She orders the Lobster Roll (butter poached with lemon on brioche). Plus fries. Dad orders the blackened salmon on a bed of corn, tomatillo and asparagus. Plus fries.

Waitress asks her if she’d like a glass of wine with lunch. “No Thank you. Ice water would be great.” I watched her interaction with the waitress, her unfolding of her napkin and placing it on her lap, her straightening her dress over her knees, her ease in the surroundings, her comfort in her own skin. Wow. Look at what you’ve become. [Read more…]

I like how I am

Billy Bob Thornton also spoke about his marriage to Angelina Jolie.  As for why they split, Thornton said, “We just had different lifestyles. Hers is a global lifestyle and mine is an agoraphobic lifestyle,” he said with a laugh. “So that’s really, that’s the only reason we’re probably not still together, maybe. There was a different path in life we wanted to take.”

“I never felt good enough for her,” he shared, adding that despite his many years in Hollywood, he’s “real uncomfortable around rich and important people.”

And he wasn’t looking to change his ways.

“I like how I am,” he said.

~ Mike Miller, Billy Bob Thornton Says There Is Only One Reason He Is Not Still Married to Angelina Jolie (People, June 13, 2018)


Portrait of Billy Bob Thornton: Alan Amato

 

Driving I-95 N. ‘Tis the Season.

~6:00 pm on the dashboard clock.  Sigh. 14 hours. And It ain’t over. ‘Tis the Season. For office holiday parties.

It’s a short drive to the event, from Work, from the office, to a suburban restaurant. The car edges forward, held back by rush hour traffic, the stop and go, and a sea of red tail lights lighting up the darkness.

How does one makes sense of it? The 360° turn. The jackknife. The Man who leaves the at-home comfort, the warm cocoon of his desk at work, to this. From Krishnamurti’s You are the Everything. To…You are something far less than that.

Irreconcilable differences.

The small room is crowded.  An introvert’s haunted house. Small talk, tight spaces, no obvious way out.

Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car…You got a fast car – I got a plan to get us out of here.

The small talk. The dread. The ever-present doom that suffocates the mind, that blackens all things. [Read more…]

A Journey Around My Room

In Lin Yutang’s view, you must possess the capacity to open yourself to seeing what’s in front of and around you all the time, not just when you are on a special trip. He gives us a sizable translation from a Chinese philosopher who expands on this, explaining that seeing the beauty and grace in the most majestic mountains means nothing if you can’t see beauty and grace in “a little patch of water, a village, a bridge, a tree, a hedge, or a dog….”

A travel book that takes this philosophy as far as it can go and then further is that remarkable little book: A Journey Around My Room. This is book was written in 1790 by a young French officer named Xavier de Maistre. […]

With nothing else to do, he wrote a guidebook to his room, visiting over the course of those weeks various bits of furniture, paintings, his bookshelf, letters he’d kept, and his own memory of a charming and slightly rakish life … De Maistre makes a case for traveling around his room as the truest kind of travel … “The pleasure you find in traveling around your room is safe from the restless jealousy of men; it is independent of the fickleness of fortune. After all, is there any person so unhappy, so abandoned, that he doesn’t have a little den into which he can withdraw and hide away from everyone? Nothing more elaborate is needed for the journey.”

Like all good travel writers, de Maistre begins his book by giving us the lay of the land and the route he intends to take:

My room is situated on the forty-fifth degree of latitude, according to the measurement of Father Beccaria; it stretches from east to west; it forms a long rectangle, thirty-six paces in circumference, if you hug the wall. My journey will, however, measure much more than this, as I will be crossing it frequently lengthwise, or else diagonally, without any rule or method. I will even follow a zigzag path, and I will trace out every possible geometrical trajectory if need be. I don’t like people who have their itineraries and ideas so clearly sorted out that they say, “Today I’ll make three visits, I’ll write four letters, and I’ll finish that book I started.” My soul is so open to every kind of idea, taste and sentiment; it so avidly receives everything that presents itself!…And why would it turn down the pleasures that are scattered along life’s difficult path? …

But when he wants to be awakened to what is going on in the world far from his window, and learn more about the human condition, there is another destination in his room that he can visit—his bookshelf, which is filled mostly with novels and a few books of poetry. These take him out of his room while allowing him to stay in it, and expand his experiences a thousandfold. He writes, “As if my own troubles weren’t enough, I also voluntarily share those of a thousand imaginary characters, and I feel them as vividly as my own.” …

After reading A Journey Around My Room, I vowed that I would take a trip to my room every few months, and these have been some of the happiest days I’ve spent. It’s an incredible luxury to be home and not sick, to wake up with no agenda other than to wander around the apartment all day. I can lie on the sofa and look at the light as it plays across a glass table. Or see the way it catches on a cracked ceramic vase. I can play with the shells I’ve brought back from the beach. I can admire our hearty little African violet. And I can visit my books, flipping through this one and then that to light on a passage.

This only works if I remain totally unplugged. The rules for such a day are simple—no electronics at all (except for music).

~ Will Schwalbe, from “A Journey Around My Room. Traveling.” In Books for a Living.


Notes:

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