The Next Time
Perfection is out of the question for people like us,
so why plug away at the same old self when the landscape
has opened its arms and given us marvelous shrines
to flock towards? The great motels to the west are waiting,
in somebody’s yard a pristine dog is hoping that we’ll drive by,
and on the rubber surface of a lake people bobbing up and down
will wave. The highway comes right to the door, so let’s
take off before the world out there burns up. Life should be more
than the body’s weight working itself from room to room.
A turn through the forest will do us good, so will a spin
among the farms. Just think of the chickens strutting,
the cows swinging their udders, and flicking their tails at flies.
And one can imagine prisms of summer light breaking against
the silent, haze-filled sleep of the farmer and his wife.
Most people think everybody feels about them much more violently than they actually do - they think other people’s opinions of them swing through great arcs of approval and dissaproval.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Tender is the Night”
The anxiety of loving Chloe was in part the anxiety of being in a position where the cause of my happiness might so easily vanish, where she might suddenly lose interest, die, or marry another. At the height of love, there appeared a temptation to end the relationship prematurely, so that either Chloe or I could play at being the executioner, rather than see the other partner, or habit, or familiarity end things. We were sometimes seized by an urge (manifested in our arguments about nothing) to kill our love affair before it had reached its natural end, a murder committed not out of hatred, but out of an excess of love - or rather, out of the fear that an excess of love may bring. Lovers may kill their own love story only because they are unable to tolerate the uncertainty, the sheer risk, that their experiment in happiness has delivered.
—“Essays in Love” by Alain de Botton. (via good friend Sangwon)
“Many of the most important impressions and thoughts in a person’s life are ones that flash through your head so fast that fast isn’t even the right word, they seem totally different from or outside of the regular sequential clock time we all live by, and they have so little relation to the sort of linear, one-word-after-another English we all communicate with each other with that it could easily take a whole lifetime just to spell out the contents of one split-second’s flash of thoughts and connections - and yet we all seem to go around trying to use English (or whatever language our native country happens to use, it goes without saying) to try to convey to other people what we’re thinking and to find out what they’re thinking, when in fact deep down everybody knows it’s a charade and they’re just going through the motions. What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny part of it at any given instant.”