Musings Late-Summer 2010 [from the Chronicles of Dis-Infection]


And so welcome to the Big Time!

The central station, which will in short order reveal just what cloth you are cut from. Walk straight, walk fast, be on the lookout, grade booties, pigeonhole, convey a sense of purpose, project superiority. You are now a full-blown member, a contestant of the dynamic multitude, consisting of tens of thousands jostling through the spacious, central concourse in pursuit of their connect, a café latte or maximum matinal productivity. To be on time, not out of it, not in it either but riding it like a big kahuna of white-capped minutes. Irregardless of your doubts, look purposeful, somewhere-bound. Make sure to project both your habitus and your status. Please Bourdieu and Bouton simultaneously.

Yay, this is the Human Major League where the straphanger cream is separated from the pedestrian crop. The speed is incredible, every morning you get caught off-guard and need to speed up to the murderous trottoir velocity.

How do you score? Looking at the train schedule board with a world-wary look [5 points], not bumping into people [1 point], hauling a compact, 4-wheeled suitcase [10 points], grabbing a coffee on the go [15 points], acting like you’ve been here a million times before [20 points], revising an excel-sheet on the iPhone while cracking up fellow stranger on your platform [30 points], smugly knowing that you are somehow better than everybody else [45 points]. Catching somebody with your own hard stare while they are checking you out so that they abashedly look away: 100 points!

High score? Forget it, there is no high score. Keep moving, dodging, typing, chatting, hauling, weaving to your own PB. That is all there ever is or will be: your own Personal Best. Like I said:

Welcome to the Big Time!

Notes on notebooks [pt.1]

Zero effort, none. Perhaps the price, a lousy 11.50 CHF, did not justify any gesture of good-will, maybe the lady had a bad day or has been having a bad life; more likely, the rubber band proffered, skinny and on the cheap, was everything that was left in the drawer in terms of rubber band reserves. Yet when the office-supply lady handed me back my new, brand-new notebook, the only thing I was able to think of was: zero effort! The lackluster hand movements with which she tried to undo the twists in it signaled the absence of care.

Her younger female apprentice cast a side-long glance at the lady’s gnarly hands’ manipulations of the rubber, then flicked me a conspiratorial smile that spoke loud and clearly: “I know! That is not what you meant when you asked if we have any rubber bands to hold together your brand-new notebook. You were thinking of something much more dignified, along the lines of a Moleskine or one of those wide, pebbly rubber-bands that are used to hold together asparaguses. Instead this? I would have done better, everything considered, I swear. So please, yes, do come back.” Too disappointed by the cheapo loop of latex, my eyes remained mute in response to this plea.

Still and all, I have been surprised by this business of buying a new notebook. I imagined it a much simpler affair. Being as we are in the digital era my reasonable assumption had been that the primary limiting factor would be choice. After all the people who do still spend significant time writing can easily do so on a laptop or if they are desperate, nimble-fingered enough or in the mush-brained demographic-bracket of the early-adopters, tipple-di-type their text into a PDA; excuse me, I mean iPad or iPhone. So, uhm, shucks, yeah, given our wide sortiment of tech gizmos, I expected cellulose-based recording devices to be on their way out the window.

However, by the time I made it to the 5th floor of ‘whole-‘nother-ballgame-of-pretension’ Globus this pre-conception was blown out of the soup [which might or might not be an U.S. idiom, you’d have to ask J. Lethem whose Chronic City I culled it from]. The shelves, wooden black, presented with an ample array of luxuriant logs. Just a bit too fancy: Moleskine spanning the range from plain black, little Cold-war-spy military-secret notepad, over regular S. Bellow medium-size urban flaneur notebook to ultra-ridiculous Bobo-poseur oenological journal (which immediately begs for a close etymological comparison between diary and diarrhea).

[•••to be continued•••]

Memo to self

Someone forgot to send me the memo. Everybody else got it. In the mail or the inbox or the FB messages someone must have explained to the others why they need to be in a rush. In the mornings and the evenings everybody remembers the memo and does not fail to be in a hurry, on and off the train, the bus even the bike.

Finally having arrived in the living room or office, they settle for a humane pace, let heir unbooted heels blow off steam, allow their speed-struck eyes slowly to adapt to the day’s tempo. And I wonder if that too was part of the memo, someone forgot to send me: That time can neither be lost nor won.

NO  Play

Hiatuses certainly is the plural of hiatus. I imagine. What occasions them? A lack of inspiration, a spell of overtime work, the banality of a misplaced notebook, a global shortage of squid ink, an event so trifling one dare not write about it?

At any rate, I never experience them as restorative or relaxing but rather as angst-fraught absence from what matter most in my life: writing. A hiatus from it is like sitting very still for a very long time not doing anything but wanting to do something, badly. So herewith let it be over, let me low’from’me[1].

[1] Going over this textlet the second time, it took me forever to remember what I meant to say by this. When I finally figured it out, silly as it was, I left it in there for the fun/satisfaction derived from finding out: considerable.


About tmabona

writer, reader [bolano, DW, bellow, deLillo], runner, badmintoneer
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