Monday, June 28, 2010
A world without zero
Three minutes until ten, the digital clock alleges. How many resumes have I sent today? I won’t even ask the other question. How many replies...? I won’t do this to myself. The number of times I went out of the cave: zero. The number of things I burned on the stove: zero. As it turns out, zero can also be a good thing. The number of movies I watched today: zero. Most often, however, it’s a bad thing. I wish the zeroes in my life, these impostor digits, were replaced by real numbers made of flesh and blood, real numbers that laugh and cry and hurt, like me. Zero is a travesty.
One is a lonely number. Dave Matthews sings “Two’s a perfect number, but one, well...” One’s imperfect. Like me. It stands in want of completion, of closure, of a twist. One has no twist. But two, well...
Father taught me arithmetic before I went to school. We went over the entire first grade curriculum the summer before I enrolled. This is why, unlike the other kids, I loved numbers. Scholastic tedium hadn’t gotten to me before the magic of mathematics had. It caught up fast, however, and left the latter eating dust. Now, scholastic tedium is indomitable, as any pupil and student can testify.
I should not say I am in the most confessional state of mind, nor in the most verbose. I count my thoughts on one hand’s fingers, and I’ve some to spare. But I sat myself down, perhaps unwisely, to write this soliloquy. I did it to arm myself against solitude. Surrounded by your thoughts, you’re never alone. And so resolute was I to mark off another blog entry for the elusive June, that I started to count my posts, as a sort of scale for my achievement, as if it could be something I could boast. I counted them, as I would apples at the market, thoughts measured by the kilo. So I stopped. I was doing myself a disservice.
If it were for me, I’d write every day. But my new rule is to bar myself from dreams, and especially from the image of me acting them out, which haunts me. When I come to, disillusioned, it’s unbearable. Until I get to act out my dreams, I will just write, but not about the dreams at all. In fact, I’ll make every effort to overlook them. I’ll write instead about ennui, and about the strain and the leap. What happens when there is nothing more to aspire to? Is it called happiness or... clinical death?