Dropping the Ball

I am, by nature and various forms of training, agile in a way that if I bobble things, even in a way that would seem normal to most people, there is clearly some kind of problem. Periodically I wonder if this situation represents a substantial inefficiency. Like, maybe the focus I’m expending under normal circumstances could be used in a way where it’s keeping me from creating a structure that makes the reflexes less necessary. 

New Hobbies

Basically all I do for fun is bathe. I sort of think I’d get something out of leaving the apartment for leisure, but I am attempting to emerge from a period where I was beating myself up for not having a hobby that was personality-defining, so being casual about stuff like that makes me panic. 

Whither leisure, the Joaquin Maguire story. 

All We Want To Be Is Lazy

So I have, speaking broadly, a crippling problem with aimlessness. Last night I was sort of hoping that putting stuff up all the time might help with that, because I’d be narrating what was going on. The problem, of course, is that I can’t start that, because I’m too aimless, and then there’s a bunch of panicking and chicken-egg dysphasia-ing. What I did do today was make some marvelous fusion snacks.

Reset?

A million years ago on a date that consisted of passing a bottle of wine back and forth in Prospect Park, my interlocutor said of her decision to come out, “Why do I need an excuse to hang out with a boy whose life is an open book in the internet?” Since then, everyone has started pretending that their life is an open book on the internet, but the whole thing has been sort of obfuscated and branded and is kind of horrible. Partly as a reaction to this decline, and partly because I think it is probably the only way that I’ll ever start writing here consistently, this is going to start including a lot of really boring diary stuff. Excelsior!

Sucker

Given the states of both the world and my psyche, I thought I’d run through Homo Sacer again. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten how it starts with a really abusive misunderstanding of Foucault. It’s like he read The History of Sexuality and D&P (worst translated name ever), and pretended that he hadn’t notice The Birth of the Clinic. At any rate, it was too much, and now I’m reading Borges short stories.

Shock and the City Solution

Made my semi-annual reading of “Some Motifs in Baudelaire” recently, and was compelled to wonder if I miss crowds. While in Paris over the summer, I noted that it was much more crowded than Portland, and at the time my feelings about that were pretty clear. A little quiet time with Walter, however, has made me wonder.

Portland is very nice, in its way, but I’ve never found it very compelling. I don’t want to go out and explore it very much. Obviously, it suits a lot of people. Perhaps the difference is that I’m the type who finds it refreshing to parry his own blows, as it were. It is certainly the case that I find it very comforting to go out into the world and not recognize anyone. I have often thought of myself as a bit agoraphobic, but perhaps the problem that keeps me indoors is more akin to paranoia.

So perhaps the solution is brunch at The Screen Door? The problem is that many crowded places have lousy crowds. Portlanders, accustomed to a certain amount of leeway, are lousy gatherers. I think it’s also worth nothing that while crowds were smooth in NY when I lived there in 98 and 99, but the time I went back for Draper, the sort of New York flow had been irreparably disrupted by the idea that New York was somewhere that everyone should go, rather than being a place for people whose temperament it suited.

In “Motifs” Benjamin frequently returns to how unlike the crowds of Paris are from the crowds of other cities. In the context of a discussion of Baudelaire, this takes the form of suggesting that at the time no other continental cities were as urbanized (and while London is discussed earlier, it doesn’t get compared at this point.) At any rate, while I did feel penned in over the summer, it is worth noting that Parisian crowds still know how to move quickly, efficiently, and safely (definitely feel more at risk from drivers here than I did there.)