Thursday, August 21, 2008

Recipe for happiness

Now follow this exactly, or it won't work:

(1) Wake up.
(2) Eat no solids -- liquids allowed -- coffee, tea, water, milk, whatever you need.
(3) Eat no lunch.
(4) Get in a taxi (water taxi for you Venetians) and direct it to the airport (with the words, "Driver, aiport please" if possible).
(5) When you're asked which airline you're flying, respond. "Oh, I don't know, xx sounds nice", where for "xx" you fill in some spot you really want to go to.
(6) Reach airport, get ticket, get through security.
(7) Shop -- I know the selection isn't great, but be more process oriented.
(8) Drink (note, it's pretty much on an empty stomach) -- two glasses of champagne or if good champagne isn't available (i.e., French) then go for a solid shot of your favourite spirit.
(9) Post blog entry about your feelings of elation while waiting for your flight.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus

Even with the help of Wikipedia this all the cleverness I can manage for the morning...

So I'm back in New York and in Boston. How can one return to two places? Many people ask me this, and a few understand, but nonetheless it is difficult to explain. It's not like you mirror your life, with two of everything. Because each side of the mirror is different. For a long while the Boston side had a work life and spartan living, and New York had my apartment and life. I've recently moved the flat to Boston, so what's left here in New York? A camp-like sublet, while I'm waiting on a more stable place in New York. And of course life!

New York in summer is a bit like a hyperactive child on Ritalin -- it is quieter than usual, though only a loving parent would notice. But it's true. You can actually get into a restaurant of your choice on 5 minutes' notice, and at a decent time (8,9,10 are prime time depending on your age and nationality) rather than phoning 10 days ahead to be told gleefully that "we can offer you 5.30 or 11.30". It's true none of the usual celebrities are hanging out, and the famous chefs are probably away too. But that's fine with me -- I don't care for the former and I'm sure the latter are pretty handy with a whisk as well.

Of course, some things you do have two of -- toothbrush, for example. But for everything else you end up either wishing you had the things from one city in the other, or worse forgetting where everything is, or even worse losing things in the back and forth.

But what I feel most strongly is indeed that time flees. The promised summer came and went (note the past tense, sadly). And yes, work was done, meals cooked and enjoyed, friends well met, concerts attended, all washed down with whine.

Perhaps a little more grit, earth, sand, friction, texture would slow things down, and if they went slower then I could savor every moment a little more (extensively, if not intensively, because if nothing else, life is intense).

Perhaps a little more idling would allow dust to gather, seeds to sprout, and the joys of life to settle around me, like a flock of birds coming to rest, rather than me like a hound in pursuit.

Tempus fugit. (And indeed why not that other over-used but profound phrase?) Carpe diem.*


P.S. I usually blog about my musical follies, but here's my soundtrack for the morning and a solid start if you're feeling autumnal in late summer.

** Horace, Odes, 1.11
Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi Leuconoe, don't ask — it's a sin to know —
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios what end the gods will give me or you. Don't play with Babylonian
temptaris numeros. ut melius, quidquid erit, pati. fortune-telling either. It is better to endure whatever will be.
seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam, Whether Jupiter has allotted to you many more winters or this final one
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare which even now wears out the Tyrrhenian sea on the rocks placed opposite
Tyrrhenum: sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi — be smart, drink your wine. Scale back your long hopes
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have {already} fled
aetas: carpe diem quam minimum credula postero. Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.

(Thank you Wikiedia for this bit of cleverness. Absurdly I "read" the Odes when I was 17. Sometimes it might be better to leave some pleasures to later in life when one can appreciate them.)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fill 'er up (2)

I'm always a little surprised when the American media make such a fuss about General Motor's plans to build an all-electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, and amused when such a fuss is made about Tata Nano, an Indian designed micro-car that will sell for something like two thousand dollars.

I'm surprised because an Indian-made, electric, micro-car can be seen plying the streets of London daily, the Reva, which is called the GWiz in the UK. Sometimes living in the US I feel so far behind the times. In London you find free parking spots for electric cars. Anyway with these little beauties, parking space is not a problem.

Apparently the driving range is 40 km. But in London this isn't too much of a problem because you can always fill 'er up here:


P.S. Not to say that I don't miss the Texaco Station altogether.
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