I’m forty-five years old. Today I made a perfect espresso by accident, progressed two phone calls closer to either getting my car fixed or not, requested a form from my doctor that will allow me to request more forms, edited commentary on 13th-century Japanese poems, and attempted to explain to an intelligent person born in Taiwan why we say “the University of Wisconsin” but not “the U.S. society”. My explanation didn’t sound convincing to my ears, although she seemed to follow it. I wonder if it’s possible to (accidentally?) elucidate something you don’t understand yourself. I certainly hope so; in some ways I feel I’ve staked the meaning of my life on this very activity.
Or the meaning of life might be that after a day of frustration of various colors and stripes, I found myself staring at the pale green and yellow of a picture-perfect avocado on a bamboo board and thinking, “That’s almost too beautiful to be real.”
On my desk I keep a jaundiced clipping from The Japan Times, nearly a decade old now. It cites a “former Japanese Cabinet minister arrested on charges of breach of trust in connection with several failed financial institutions”:
“I had thought very carefully about committing hara-kiri over this, but I overslept this morning.”
This has got to be one of my favorite statements ever. Who are we to let suicidal intentions, however honorable, take precedence over a good night’s sleep? Not to condone the whole breach of trust thing, but this guy clearly has at least a few of his priorities straight.
So here we are. And where are we, again?