In yoga class this morning the person next to me was chewing gum the whole time. I don't know what is more inimical to the point of yoga, noisily smacking gum while doing it, or being so bothered by someone noisily smacking gum that your blood pressure goes up while doing it. In both cases you are conspicuously failing to instantiate Patanjali's extraordinary promise of liberation through stillness.
Then right outside the yoga studio there was a big Lamar Advertising billboard that touted the virtues of advertising in something called "The Sunshine Pages" (it's some kind of yellow pagey thing). Still traumatized by the sounds of the inside of my yoga friend's mouth, I thought something to the effect of, "If advertising in the Sunshine Pages is so great, why do they have to use the billboard," not even realizing that advertising for the Sunshine Pages in the Sunshine Pages is equivalent to believing the Bible is true because the Bible says so. Some days my fancy book learning avails me nothing.
Is there anything more forlorn than all those kiosk things selling useless crap in between the stores? I was taking a stroll while Emily got her hair cut and the kiosk people kept importuning me like prostitutes in Amsterdam's red light district. O.K. So I guess there is one thing more forlorn than all those kiosk things selling useless crap in between stores. But I had not taken a wrong turn on the way to the Van Gogh museum; I was just trying to walk around the mall while my wife got her split ends taken care of. I did not want skin care products, holographic pictures, jewelry, smokeless cigarettes, air-brush tatoos, remote controlled miniature helicopters, a shoulder massage, or Rosetta Stone software, etc. It all looked alien and vaguely threatening (because it all is). But my wants were immaterial; all the depressing kiosk people kept trying to lure me in over and over again until my walk became the stations of the mall. However, instead of scourging and what-not there was the forced joviality of saying, "No thanks," and again and again watching the depressing kiosk person's hopes get gradually more crushed by life.
And all the benches had these little sqwauking computer screens advertising a contest where you fill out a form and put it in an enclosure and you get contacted about being a model. I couldn't block out the burbling, and my tinitus driven ears did what they always do when there are barely audible voices, refusing to tune it out, instead attending to it and trying to figure out what is being said. So I went up to the stand and bent down to the screen, to listen to the pitch about how modelling is a lucrative career that just might be right for me. But then I was in the way of a pimply high school kid who was trying to submit his little form.
I could see the excited imaginations on his pock marked face. Him, pulled out of obscurity in Baton Rouge to walk the runways in glamorous company in all the great cities of the world. But reality painfully contradicted his fantasy. I saw him years from now standing by a kiosk and bothering shoppers. He thought he was a top model in training, but he was really a kiosk person in training.
I bowed my head and headed back to the salon. Emily's hairdresser let me slump defeated into one of the unused barber chairs. I'd moved up in the world. When I was a kid they'd have to put a board on the arm rests so my head could reach the barber's hands. Not any more.
I read Heidegger.
And only what is unmeaningful can be absurd.