She throws off her shoes and sits on the grass. Unsure of the time, she figures there is nearly a half-hour until she must join her class in the basement of the School of Education. The basement, which smells like the old libraries of her childhood, is full of impersonal marks. It is almost a favorite location insofar as it is absolutely not the favorite location for which it triggers a memory. It’s like the underground tunnels secretly connecting the historical building in her hometown. It’s like the cemented hallways of high schools she used to visit on the weekend for speech and debate tournaments. It’s like the neglected wing of a school in a county where they just can’t come to pass a single levy. (Yes, the building at the University called the School of Education, yes, that is the place.) She’ll go into the building soon, but for now, there is a half-hour or so to sit on the grass.
The opens her backpack and stalls for a moment. Someone calls to a friend as they pass by her on their bike. A man she slightly knows is eating an panini a few yards away. There is a woman with a pony tail sitting on a nearby cement ledge looking intently at her apple computer, a macbook air – of course, it has to be an apple computer because there is nothing more wormy in the silicon valley than not incorporating the material of the sleek and innovative apple corporation into the matter of one’s daily affairs. The ringtone of a passerby’s iPhone starts going off. She turns her head towards the sound. Every time I hear a phone ring I think it may be for me. I mistake it for my phone. I reach for my pocket. Is someone calling me? It almost never is. And even if I do get calls, if they are from unfamiliar numbers, I probably wouldn’t pick up anyhow.
She pulls out a few books. Some philosophy texts, a notebook, a half-read novel, Mrs. Dalloway. Mrs. Dalloway seems like a proper book to read to dally away the time until she has to start talking about things of actual importance. Before she goes down the carpeted stairs to the white-walled, blue door basement; before she sits down to go through beat thought-experiments and talk about morality, involving, of course, your standard debate about utilitarianism and the Prisoner’s Dilemma; before she is told to discuss the topics of philosophy in the squared away space and time of the discussion section; before all of that, she will read a little Mrs. Dalloway.
The clock was striking—one, two, three: how sensible the sound was; compared with all this thumping and whispering…the clock went on striking, four, five, six…of her memories, most were happy. She reads, knowingly skimming over the intricacies of the text, losing the names of characters as she goes, seeking out only the passages she could convolute by projecting her own reading on to the writing, and brushes the grass with her toes. All of these clocks. Always ticking away. Ticking away at what? At time? For what? Aren’t there clock all over the world hitting the hour and making us bend our knees—reminding us who we are and what we are doing here? The clocks, reminding millions that it is time for worship. The bells, ringing until the permutations of the sounds ripple out beyond an audible space. The bells, signaling out with the ring the presence of its stricken state only in the absence of the strike. The ring is a reminder. A reminder, remainder, remind her that someone is calling there; there is some kind of song; there is a choir of angels singing in a boxed off square of a colossal calendar; there is work to be done; there is someone coming—coming, still; still, stalling; still, keeping with the ticking-tocking and the taking-talking of the buzz of sounds swarming the open space. The sound of bicycling pedals turning is getting louder. It must be close to class time.
She starts to pack up her things. She thinks about the bell tower. The people she’ll never meet. The characters with forgetful names (maybe they should be capitalized, capitalized letters, capitally counted). The lines of text that would be a more fruitful foundation for discussion than those thought experiments she is about to discuss in a basement. She would prefer not to go to class today. She would prefer instead to sleep out on the lawn. To read more Virginia Woolf. To draw portraits and scribble down poetry and do some put-off writing. As she is putting these things all together, the bell tower near the School of Education begins to ring. One, two, three, four—and then the modulation—two, four, three, one. The clock strikes in the beginning, the clock will strike again. Almost the same ring—just as it is now—but just the slightest bit changed. A professional bell-ringer will have to make the switch. You’re late. You’re not busy enough. You’re not on time. We are supposed to be preparing for something; we are supposed to be preparing. There is work to be done! She scurries off; it’s time to go to class. It’s time for class. It’s time for classes. It’s time… It’s time…
It’s terribly good to carry water and chop wood, streaked with soot, heavy-booted and wild-eyed…and the holiest belfry burns sky high…and it is the damnable bell! And it tolls – well, I believe, that it tolls – it tolls for me! For the rest of my life, do you wait for me there?
2 weeks ago with 0 notes
I wrote this while bored in class on Monday. It is silly and sappy, but whatever, it is what it is, and it is more fun to put it here than to leave it on a ripped up sheet of notebook paper:
This is what my perspective on being in love in this time is. It is more than the nightly ritual or knotting together our legs. It is more than singing together in the street. It is more than reading our favorite books together and sharing an are-you-ready glance before turning each page. There is something about togetherness that definitively relies on difference. Living in a state of difference - in a Badiou-esque sense - might be what I am getting at. The singular capacities joined in a pursuit of whateverness. Yes, that does sort of sound like jibberish, and although I know I am meaning something, I can’t quite get to it with these words. Being in love now is an offer to incorporate one another into a constantly constructed present. Being in love now is deconstructing all of the should-be’s, wish-there-were’s, and might-have-been’s. It is looking into the absurd and open present and marveling that togetherness is a part of it. It suspends religion. It invites new conversation. Being in love now is missing the last train home and laughing through the mishap. Being in love now is realizing what doesn’t need to be spoken to be said. In some sense, it may be giving the difference back its voice. It is whispering through every “you’re the best,” “you’re a goof,” “you’re so lovely,” “you’re so fun,” “you’re a rockstar,” “you’re a dork” a universally significant three word declaration. The little voice exhaled in every breath of smoke from the quickly burning cigarette says it to the openess. The difference, somehow consubstantial with the togetherness, reveals the phrase. Talking about the words that connect us and all the named things in between—this is being now in love.
And how goddamn lovely would it be if we all realized that we could extend this love to everyone. It is all potential; we just have to show it!
1 month ago with 1 note