But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.
Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it."
David Foster Wallace perfectly sums up my morning. While eating a brutal hangover breakfast I sat with a woman who told me I had nice shoes, more than once, because the psych meds she’s on make her forget, and make her bones and teeth shrink. But she thought I was quick-witted, so she made me promise to reintroduce myself next time I saw her. The lady behind the counter burned herself and we talked about how ice never helps and went and got her aloe instead and all was well. And the cashier was limping around on crutches because he jumped off an 8 foot fence on valium last Sunday, but he already has metal plates throughout his legs and the doctors told his mom he would never walk anyway, so he’s already two steps ahead of the game.
All in all, Mister Foster Wallace would have enjoyed it, the mystical stuff of ordinary reality.
Then I saw the cops pulling over a range rover full of yuppie moms right in front of the brothel across the street from where I’m drinking coffee, and I’m just sitting here chuckling.
I’m not waking up this early again, no matter how delightful it’s been.
Is a conservative religious liberal-arts college an oxymoron? Rollo Romig on Muslim Zaytuna College: http://nyr.kr/194KmI0
Photograph by Justin Sullivan
1. they never even mentioned how totally dreamy dr. bazian is tho? or how funny his class is! ahahaa
2. im so happy to hear zaytuna is progressing successfully. i remembered when it was just something the muslim homies on campus were mentioning would happen, and then all the excitement that it finally had. kept saying i’d go check the building out but i’m me and never got to it. this is flyy tho, God is good.
3. ddddddaaaaaaaaannngggg The New Yorker, you all up in my life tho! was literally just on bart reading the magazine then checked my phone when i got off and, quite dangerously, walked down the street w my phone to my nose reading this article. good stuff.
4. So, The New Yorker, you tryna be my boy friend er what?