Some days are like that

Another week has passed. I’ve been sleeping over 8 hours a night. It’s  a subtle change. I’m not exploding with energy, but I’m less irritable. There’s not as much mist in my head.

Still there’s an aimlessness, an indifference. I’m complacent and cold. My clarity doesn’t drive me to do anything different. Sleepless or rested, my life is the same. I still wake up at 4 in the morning and construct a café, then serve and serve and serve until I go home at one in the afternoon. And then my day is done.

Nothing holds my attention. Or rather I should say my attention holds nothing. I scroll through an endless stream of words until the day turns inside out and I can sleep again.

The December sun isn’t filtered by the atmosphere. There’s no density in the air and the light is irradiating, like the frozen flash of an atom bomb. It’s been beautiful the last few days. But I don’t feel beauty anymore. I think and feel in two dimensions. Yesterday I took a picture of the sunset because I knew I wouldn’t remember it. I never take pictures.

When I went home last weekend I looked at photos of my dad when he was my age. He looked almost identical to how I look now. He was young and is now old. I’m young and will soon be old. We don’t become; life leaves us behind. Having children gives you a chance to see yourself as young again in a living form rather than an image.

We’re not individuals. We’re copies, repetitions in a series. Links in a great chain. And yet everything today is pushing us to break this chain. We’re never free enough; there’s always a root to hack away, another bond to sever. Liberation is free floating isolation in space among the asteroids. 

The calm clarity of my current mood is choking me. I can’t say what I want to say about time, identity, aging and death because they’re obscure subjects. And if I’m not certain that what I’m saying is clear then I can’t say it. Political polemic is more fun because insulting people comes easily.

The myth of direct experience, the illusion of immediacy. I wanted to merge with the faded beauty of the evening sky but my thoughts were in the way. I’m always between myself and what I want to be. My present is a playback of what I missed, overlaid with commentary. I can see the splicing of scenes, the fraying of the reel. To live is to edit, to see is to censor.

Even impressions are retroactive, composed of minute longings for what has passed. We appear in the lag of streaming sunlight. We’re flickering memories of ourselves, genetic reprints or photons on celluloid.

Before I was tired because I couldn’t sleep. But there’s a fatigue deeper than the deepest sleep. We live too long; we’re not made for life or death. I’m homesick for somewhere I’ve never been.

Author: The Empty Subject

Born curmudgeon

2 thoughts on “Some days are like that”

    1. Thank you. I find this kind of piece difficult to write. I hate the idea of being unclear or hiding behind phrases that sound profound but mean nothing. That being said, there’s a time to be suggestive or evocative and allow readers to fill in some of the gaps themselves.

      One of the themes of this blog is that it’s crucial to confront our deepest human needs and think seriously about death and transcendence. It’s probably never been easier to forget or deny our spiritual condition, so I try to write in a way that reminds us. I’m glad this piece resonated with you.

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