Doesn’t it have to mean something? That I chose to walk in that particular direction at that particular time—towards that particular meeting with those particular people?
It has to mean something. (We always want it to mean something, don’t we?)
And what I mean is this: tonight, on June 5, 2012, I took my little pug, Miss Daisy, for a walk at 6:11pm, and then I saw the transit of Venus.
I will never see it again.
“I didn’t like today,” I told the empty space of my car.
Or maybe I was telling NPR. A calming, authoritative, informed voice out of the NPR headquarters in Washington, DC, was telling me about the presidential campaign—Romney vs. Obama, a bickering contest that will never end and November is so far away.
The voice didn’t exactly answer back but told me instead about the unemployment rate and how the same number can be presented so differently—in a positive light, in a negative shadow—by the two candidates.
Did you ever think about how the word candidate has candid in it, but most of the time, those slick, shiny, demographically-researched, American flag pin wearing candidates are anything but candid? How can you know what is true, what is real, what is pure, what is lovely—when you’re not sure what to believe in their heavily-scripted, pandering-to-someone speeches?
Like with the unemployment rate: it’s a number. Numbers are supposed to be solid facts. Bold, heavy, reliably rigid like the imposing stone facades of the Pentagon or the Post Office. You shouldn’t be able to sculpt them with rhetoric and political blah-blah-blah—because if we can’t trust numbers, how do we count?
I turned off NPR; empty silence is better than empty words.
The problem with the day, the reason I hadn’t liked it, had been this: nothing felt sure. Deadlines shifted, there were delicately worded emails to write and interpret, and my to-do list kept growing, taking on an Alice in Wonderland life of its own: the more I crossed things off, the more things were added, and I must be late for a very important date. I was Alice through the looking-glass and wishing for clear direction and not such a topsy-turvy world.