When one’s life is foretold by medical appointments, visits from the housekeeper, birthdays, income tax instalments and dividend payments, there isn’t much of consequence to report when being casually asked, “What’s the news?” Quite simply there isn’t any news. Though I’ve always acknowledged my repetitious lifestyle (frankly a feature I consider relieving by virtue of its simplicity and legitimacy) it doesn’t market well as either topical or intriguing. Yet from this inconsequence I derive subtle – dare I say, smug – pleasure. Indeed it is an irrelevance upon which I actively thrive. For the other reality of my being is the inherent affection for dichotomy, what I characterize as the binary nature of things. The division of the world into two parts is a global separation of what at first appears to be competing ideas though in fact they are likely no more than two arguments – or what may more delicately be described in the computer vernacular as “two possible values for each pixel“.
This obscurity of judgement oddly succeeds to authenticate either alternative. I have long ago abandoned the pretext of novelty, preferring instead to blend in with the wallpaper. This unimaginative posture does however inspire an acceptance of what is. That conviction, I trust you’ll concur, is no small complement! My thinking at this late stage is that reality is virtually immutable. I say this not despairingly but rather as acceptance of the dénouement of one’s erstwhile illustrious career. More significantly – that is, quite apart from the past and whatever one did in fact accomplish – the identification of the present as the primary source of substance is inarguable.
The measure of one’s achievement in life is forever personal – as I suppose the universe ultimately is on all counts. I am inclined to calculate the meaning of life not by its accumulations but rather by its texture. Make no mistake, those collections of things – cars, furniture, real estate and art – are the nap of one’s soul. I congratulate myself upon having adjusted so willingly to the transitions of life, the building up and the breaking down, the acquisition and the disposition, the coming and the going. Equally important has been the identification of fortuity, the ability to understand there are two ways to get through a thicket – by driving headlong into it or by going around it. Either choice is sustainable (though perhaps one is more dignified than the other); neither is especially “right“; both afford their separate interpretation. Whether one sees a farm house on the other side or merely a hill, is strictly a matter of portrayal.
Meanwhile as proof of my thesis I have fallen victim to the sensual allure of the precious Persians, the exotic woods, Lalique crystal, brass and bronze, the eclectic paintings and the ornamental trinkets. At the same time I confess the transience of it all, its utter superfluity when aligned with the common threads of health and contentment. Soon enough shall come the days when there is “no pleasure in them“.