On bewilderment

Went for a run yesterday at about 5 AM.

It was nearly warm, the moon was nearly full, but otherwise it was a nice dark morning. Running is a good relaxer, for sure. No kitchen clock ticking, like when I write in my journal, just my breathing, my feet slapping flipper-like on the asphalt and the weird cries of some bird in the fields already awake in the dark–or was it a rabbit being eaten?
I think I might go on a fast of some kind, both food and media. My brain feels like a souvenir paperweight with the snow flying nonstop. I must let it settle, finally, and see if the little village is still there.
It is not easy being no one. In fact, it is no easier than being someone.
It is not as easy being empty as I had hoped. I had anticipated, if you’re empty, everything is all, you know, Ommmm. But bewilderment requires a certain amount of reinventation of the wheel that can take up a lot of your time and cost a lot of effort.
For example: someone asks you how you are, you say fine.
That no longer works for me; it is an unsatisfying response. But for an honest response, I have to think, and not just, “how am I really?” but also, “what is meant by ‘fine’?” and, “according to which criteria is this question to be answered? Spiritual? Intellectual? Physical? Emotional? Economic? All of them?” And, “if the latter, how are they to be weighted?” and, “within each of the criteria, how is the proper response to be evaluated? With ‘physically’, for example, how am I compared to myself at the age of 25? To myself yesterday? Myself when I had a backache? A little crippled boy?” and, “is the evaluation to be valid over time, how am I this week and how do I expect to be in the near future, or only how am I this very instant, in the present moment?”
Both of those last ones are hard. The former requires complicated analyses, evaluations, and projections, the latter calls me out of my head to the present moment, a place I seem to work so hard to avoid; on the other hand, often, where an answer for the former of the two latter questions might be negative, the latter of the latter could really be “fine,” since fear plays such a role in the equation for the former, lately.
So, anyway. How are you? Could we just say, instead, what we mean by that question? Could we just say, Hello? And, Good to hear your beautiful voice.
Or, your eyes always make me happy.
Or, you are so graceful when you do that, are you aware of that?
Or, I hope you are well today. Or, bless you, you seem to need it.
Or, I wish you were a magician and I your assistant. Or, wouldn’t it be nice to be on a beach today instead of in this shitty office? Or, I saw the strangest man on the subway this morning. Or, who is your second-favorite artist? Or, if you lost ten pounds, your clothes would fit you better. Or, are you out of deodorant?

8 responses to “On bewilderment

  1. You should read Mark Haddons “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” if you haven’t allready. Highly recommendable, about those situations exactly.

  2. cj

    When I get that question, lately I’ve been saying “Grand” in a sort of sarcastic way… which can be understood any way the listener wants it to be understood. Most people don’t ask for clarification, which just confirms my belief that they don’t really care, but want to seem like they care. If they cared, they’d have a follow up question, like “How’s the new dog?” or “Did you win the lottery yet?” or “Did they finally hire those three people they were promising to hire for you guys?” I think the question “Was’up?” or “Suuuuup?” is so much better for these terse greetings in the hallways, as the response can be a simple head jerk and a “yo” in return. That way I can get back to my enslavement… I mean residency faster.

  3. k

    i’m damn glad i read this.

  4. mig

    i’m damn glad you read it, too.

  5. Jann

    I find that

  6. i don’t know what would be a good alternative but “just fine” apparently is not a good one, because whenever i said it my english teacher would say, “why only ‘just’ fine? did you barely make it to ‘fine’?”

  7. Kristina

    You should read Italo Calvino’s “Mr Palomar” if you haven’t already.

  8. mig

    thank you, i will.