Living & Dying
Their house was filled with books that no one read, a piano that nobody played, and paintings that nobody looked at. There was a dog that no one loved and a white picket fence that kept nobody out and held no one in. It was shadow play—all the right shapes but no substance. This poster picture of the American Dream was like a set, and they were only actors.
“The Puritans turned work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment,” decries Tim Kreider in his New York Times article on “The ‘Busy’ Trap.” He further laments the fact that so many people today almost indulge in their busyness, claiming that it is often a self-inflicted woe and even, for some, a point of pride. While I generally assumed work was so that we, as humans, could stay alive and perpetuate our species, I understand Kreider’s sentiments. He argues that idleness is not simply a vacation, vice, or indulgence, but that it is necessary to the brain for things like dreaming, creativity, and innovation, for a chance to step back from hectic life to get perspective on said life.
We loved each other for a whole night, didn’t we? Well, I guess it wasn’t really even the night, was it? A morning, and only part of one, but the best part—the between- midnight-and-getting-out-of-bed part, the things that happen in the dark-fades-to-light hours.
A potbellied, life-weathered man yelled things we couldn’t understand from his seat on the sand a short distance away. His beat-up leather skin had been worn by the beach like driftwood in the sun. He was crazy, drunk, or high—maybe all three. His shouts were garbled by the waves and the wind. Our game was like the tide, pushing us in his direction. As his words became audible, we realized he’d been keeping score, the referee of a game that he hadn’t been invited to between two people he didn’t know. According to him, I was winning. He wanted to play. I felt vulnerable in my beachy near-nudity and Adrian was put off, so we moved in the other direction.