I had gone for a long run, almost 17 miles, through the forest, and had come home exhausted. My wife was on the phone with no interest in talking to me. I had done something wrong but I didn’t know what. I found out through snippets of conversation that a barbecue was being installed on the fire escape and asked why she hadn’t told me before. She shrugged, angry, feigning indifference. I was exhausted and went to sleep. The spare bedroom had been rearranged in a way I couldn’t understand and had to pull the bed against the wall to get the door closed.
I slept on and off until it was dark and she came briefly in the room and said, “I am watching Iron and Blood tonight” and left. I was disoriented. She was talking to her niece who was staying with us. They both ignored me.
And then it escalated. I asked my wife to speak alone to understand what was going on. She resented this request. She didn’t want to speak, saying she didn’t have to bother with that. It came out that she thought I had organized a series of parties for my students.
I didn’t understand the accusation. But it was too late. She was furious and now engaged with others, the accusations getting worse. It was because I smoked. That was the last thing she said. I didn’t see her again.
The being that exists is man. Man alone exists. Rocks are – but they do not exist. Trees are, but they do not exist. Horses are, but they do not exist. Angels are, but they do not exist. God is, but he does not exist.
The proposition “man alone exists” does not mean by any means that man alone is a real being while all other beings are unreal and mere appearances or human ideas.
The proposition “man exists” means: man is that being whose Being is distinguished by the open-standing standing-in in the unconcealedness of Being, from Being, in Being. (Martin Heidegger)
We agreed to marry in Florida in a small place by the beach. She was everything for me. We had loved each other many years before, my first love, but that had been broken by betrayal and selfishness. The intervening years had only proved what we had missed. It was such an obvious thing, but she reverted to old ways, unsure and scared of coming too close again. She couldn’t go through with it, in spite of my prostrations and cajoling. And then it was back to the old ways, making stands, walking out, calling again, trying to reach across that torturous gap.
It didn’t work. There seemed to be hope and she was still there, but all conversations were through others, attempts at sex were in vain. I confessed that I saw nothing in free love. She insisted that bodies were only that. I comforted myself with games of exploding balloon Frisbee, jujubes and singing along with The Grateful Dead. And it almost worked. A beautiful young woman came to me, undressed to her wonderful glory, and I was into that.
But then she had other things to do and so I entertained a whole retinue, played the role of sage with drinks in the fridge. There were so many, and I never had time to think, even if I did, not able to get the thought of her out of my head, the wonder of what we had, like flying into an unknown land and never waking up from that.
I have been blogged for close to eight years. Sometimes I have been on my game, especially in the post Hurricane Sandy days.
Other days not so much. Greenland can definitely slow me down.
It appears that these quarantine days have got me back on my virtual pony. I have blogged fourteen straight days now – on everything I can think about and some I don’t as much.
I like the routine of blogging, no matter the irrelevance of it. It is a distraction, like my new spinning routine, part three of my speculative trilogy or filling in the sky of this 2,000-piece puzzle.
I much prefer these things to ruminating on the next steps of the quarantine, watching other people coping on social media, reading about those who have to work and realizing how little society actually cares about them, thinking about how stupid we all are, when this world will finally end, how pointless our existing ever was…
So, yeah, it’s better to stick to the blog. Maybe the puzzle too.
There is nothing like a little 20th-Century French thought to help process just how long this quarantine will go on:
Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realizes himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is. (Jean-Paul Sartre)
If this myth is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him? The workman of today works every day of his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious. (Albert Camus)
She watched her sister getting ready to go. She did everything in tight, well-practiced turns – cinching the strap, adjusting the seat, looking up at the screen, scrolling through the updates – not looking back, not doing anything except what she had to for her to leave.
She didn’t want to say goodbye to her sister. She had to say it right, reach for her hand, wait and then turn to go. It made it worse to think about it. She should have just done it, just say the words and be done with it. But she didn’t.
She was exaggerating everything. She was exaggerating. They had been together too long, forever on this journey, and now they weren’t. That was all there was to it. As much as it might mean later, it was just this moment, the same as the last, the same as the next. She wasn’t going to make it something else. She would see her soon. She turned to go.
“Hey!” Her sister yelled after her.
She turned back. “What’s up?”
It hurt to hear her say it like that, like she hadn’t
thought when they both knew she had. “Give me a call when you get there.”
She turned away again, back to her screen. “I hadn’t thought of that.”