Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cogi Qui Potest Nescit Mori

When I know what to do next, I am generally satisfied.

The little time indicator located at the top right hand corner of my wonderful MacBook Pro says 3:53 AM. Insomnia. The radio has just featured The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan, a masterpiece of American Impressionism. Yes.

The radio directs my attention. What to do next? Listen to it. It throws change-ups. This is rather a different listening experience than popping in a compact disc or selecting a download, because that involves making a choice.

When I got home from work last night at the very reasonable time of 8 p.m., I checked the mail. The snail-mail. It's part of my homecoming ritual. The mailbox was full of nice expectations realized. We got our federal tax return check. Also in the mailbox were a book and some CD's.

I wanted to get the check into the bank. I'm just like that. It could have waited until later this morning instead of last night. But, I do not wait. I just don't. Ever. Even the tiny pause caused by a mere grammatical comma thrusts anxiety upon me.

We listened to the opening track "Stamps." (My spouse had accompanied me to the bank teller machine.) I cannot successfully attempt to describe this music, except to say that is is jazz of a very far out kind. After the head there follows a group improvisation in a non-pulsatile gangly loose rhythm. The drummer shimmers and scoots over his kit without laying down a beat. The cello and bass thump and scratch. The two saxophonists wander about bumping into one another.

My spouse was dumbfounded but delighted. "It's so tight," they said. I was surprised by that comment because most people would probably hear randomness in it. At the college radio station I hung out at back in the day someone had written "spastic drumming" and other insulting misunderstandings on the cover of the original vinyl record. That had also surprised me, because I'd have expected the deejays there to have an understanding of such things. Oh well.

Who would desecrate such a thing?

A coward.

When I do not know what to do next, either one of two things generally happens: I become overwhelmed by the myriad of choices presented to me, as at work where I must make instant prioritizations amid a jumble of demands upon my time and skills, or I become bored because it is three-o'clock in the morning and there is very little around me to sufficiently capture my attention and I must fend for myself.

Boredom kills me.

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