make-believe.org

Carpe Diem

I am awake now, and grinning stupidly in the half-dark, because a falling hat rack narrowly missed my head.

It never gets more than half-dark in here: the streetlight invades through the busted venetian slats. It picks out a few objects, fewer than usual because I cleaned the room last night. I also did two loads of washing; this was very nearly my undoing.

It is 4am, May 18. Today I will idly wonder again whether I have a tumour, probing a bony bulb behind my left ear. Today I will encounter again by accident the first line of Finnegan's Wake:

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

A fine and whimsical line; surely the daintiest invitation to undertake a trudging orbit of Madness. The graphic designer for the latest Penguin paperback edition thought it necessary to warn potential readers of the dangers within: the incomprehensible first page is rendered on the cover over hellish fiery clouds.

Today I will make a joke that people will laugh at twice in five seconds—once hesitantly, once uproariously, and I won't know why it took them two attempts. Today I will be sternly reprimanded by a girl I have never met, for failing, in her judgement, to meet objectives I have imposed upon myself. Today I will order a sandwich in a voice too deep to be natural, and will ask for a recommendation on the appropriate condiments. I will take the advice that is simultaneously proffered and disclaimed.

Today I will think about war and murder, racism and hegemony, unified modelling languages for software development, and why my left hand is itchy. Today I will find out the name of my great-great-great-great grandfather, and I will see the island on the other side of the world where he spent his whole life, amidst runic stones and geese, and I will learn why I bear his first name as my second. Today I will spend mostly worrying about tomorrow, and the day after. Today, at the last moment, I will rescue today, and preserve it, slightly pickled in Latin.

But right now it is 4am, 18 May, and I am trying to suppress a giggle. My hat rack just detached from the wall and landed a couple of inches from my head. The weight of two wet shirts on hangers was finally too much to bear. I am reflecting on the absurdity of being so roused from my slumber, and how dire it might have been if I had rolled to the other side of the bed.

And in a moment, I will go back to sleep, to prepare for a beckoning, half-examined day.

Joseph | 18 May 2004

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