I have a poor grasp on the facts of written history. My memory is like a funhouse mirror, and the images that populate it derive not from certified textbooks but from movies, paintings, novels… What an irresponsible mind! The Ancient Greeks encoded their cultural teachings in epic poetry (I’m thinking of the Iliad, for instance) because practical information is easier to remember when it’s conveyed in an enjoyable way. My imagination loves to labor, but it prefers a mixture of playfulness with its work; and most textbooks of history lack the exuberance that my mind is hungering for. Plus I’m a bad reader.
If your neighbors blast their music so loud that you can hear it in your own apartment, what are the chances that you will enjoy the experience? Even if they are playing a song that you love, you might not be in the mood to listen to that particular song at that particular moment. …But imagine that you’re sitting at home alone, and you think to yourself, “I’d really like to hear such-and-such old rap song from the 1980s”; then, just after you think this, your neighbors start blasting precisely that rap song through the walls. Aside from brightening up your morning, this occurrence might even lure you to start believing in God: for you might find intention where others see mere coincidence. Or, if you’re already a believer, then it might persuade you of a divine sanction on telekinesis or time machines.
This morning, my sweetheart and I chose to tackle some spring cleaning, right in the middle of winter. We awoke early and hefted three giant cathode ray tubes into the back of our sedan. When I say “cathode ray tube,” I mean a vacuum tube containing one or more electron guns and a phosphorescent screen used to display images—in other words, an old TV monitor. And when I say “sedan” I mean our silver compact car. (If bullets were the size of elephants, I could boast: Our sedan is smaller than a bullet.)
Old televisions are hard to lift; they’re heavy as heck, and their cubic shape is awkward to hold onto—there’s no place to grip: you have to extend your arms and hug the thing to your chest like it’s the torso of a sumo wrestler.
We also got rid of a metal shaft that was more than 7 feet long (2.14 meters). I wish I could claim that this shaft simply fell from the sky and landed in our yard on that night when a mysterious saucer flew over our house; but the truth is that it was the main support for our previous deck, which we had to demolish; and, since I built our new deck according to a superior plan, the old shaft’s services were no longer required—thus I stored it in the garage.
But how would the Ancient Greeks react to American Rap Music? I think they’d like it. They’d say: Yeah, that’s our favorite stuff—bold, robotic percussion with rhythmic speech over the top—it is timeless!
Here are the other items that my sweetheart and I dropped off at the local recycling place:
- a broken coffee maker
- two computer keyboards
- a DVD player
…also we got rid of half a dozen lengthy copper pipes (they’d been sitting in our garage for years). One of these pipes had a claylike nest attached to its end, complete with stillborn insect larvae inside. I discovered this fact when I tossed the pipe too carelessly into the trunk—the nest cracked open and crumbled… I had to clean it up using gloves and sticky tape. The corpses that it contained appeared like dehydrated worm blobs: they were translucent orange in hue, with wrinkled glassy wings.
It was 1°C today, and I didn’t even take advantage of the warmth. I stayed inside all day. It was Saturday, a day of rest from work. What did I do? I listened to part of a comedy routine that I didn’t like. Then I listened to a comedy routine that I did like. Then I worried about death and disease. Then I worried about finding a job that fits me better—one that is dignified and rewarding. Then (groundlessly, by the way) I returned again to worrying about death and disease.