The cat sat on the bed.
The cat wanted to be fed.
It made eyes at its owner,
Who was a great loner,
And went to get food from the shed.
The cat sat on the couch.
Its owner was also a grouch.
When she wanted to share,
The cat thought “You dare?”
And the owner then screamed out an “Ouch!”
The cat sat on the floor.
The cat was very much bored.
The human tried to play,
But the cat ran away,
And played with an electrical cord.
The cat sits wherever it wants.
Every part of the house it haunts.
It owns the house,
From sofa to mouse,
And the human only gets taunts!
How do people fall in love?
How do human beings form out of little gobs of nothing inside a womb?
How do musicians make music?
How do composers think up entirely new music?
How do writers think up the right words for the story?
How do people retain hope when things go badly?
How do people lose themselves so completely?
How did Nestle Tolehouse come up with the perfect cookie recipe?
How do you even decide when something is perfect?
How do migraines get cured?
How did human beings learn to think?
Sometimes when I think about the amount of things I don’t know, I feel overwhelmed. But then I relax, when I realize that I’m in the majority, and that anyway, sometimes the answers don’t matter – just thinking up the questions can be enough.
It hasn’t sunk in. It doesn’t feel real. It feels like a vacation, not like the beginning of a new life. It feels like a temporary jaunt, not like the prologue to the newest chapter of my life.
The city is enormous and Manhattan is only one small, accessible bit of it, but it’s the only bit I’ll get to know in my few days before moving into my new living space – THE DORM.
Manhattan is an endless stream of humanity, constantly coming and going. It makes me think like The Little Prince – I see the people going one way and then see the people coming back and I wonder: weren’t they happy where they were? Then the inevitable answer: no one is happy where they were. I hope it will be different for me, though.
I wish I were an ant, part of the endless anthill, knowing my place and my responsibility and the way I fit into the grand scheme of things. Instead, I’m simply another conscious human, acting half by instinct and half by intellect, trying to find my way and my place.
It’s a beginning. I’m here.
The Businessman sat at the same restaurant every day during his lunch break. Every day was the same for The Businessman, and one of his few joys was ordering a different thing for lunch every day. He would take the specials each day, and if the specials contained something he absolutely hated or was allergic to, he would take one his favorite regular dishes. In this way, he managed to keep the favorites special, and he never got sick of them.
The Businessman had the same routine at the restaurant every day. First, he would find a table outside. Rain or shine, he had to sit outside. If there were no tables available, which happened sometimes during tourist season, he would wait. The waiters, the servers, even the manager knew him, and they always managed to find him a seat quickly. Once he found a suitable table, he would sit down and reach into his bag. He had a worn black leather briefcase, one that looked dignified but not stuffy and too new. He would take three things out of his bag at first.
The first was a bag of tobacco. The second was a box of rolling papers. The third was a lighter. Until the waiters came over – and indeed, the waiters knew not to come over until this ritual was over or they would need to deal with a very flustered man – he would meticulously roll himself three cigarettes. He would smoke one before the meal, the second after the meal, and the third after his post-meal coffee. He felt that rolling his own cigarettes was the one roguish behavior that he’d kept from his college days when he’d been wild and carefree.
The Businessman considered himself to be rather homely. He didn’t think he had particularly interesting features, and he knew that he blended in with the endless flow of suited men in their late forties. He didn’t realize that his eyes were a beautiful and rare light blue. He didn’t seem to notice the fact that he cut a fine figure. He wasn’t entirely aware of the fact that his face, lined as it was, was full of character and intelligence. He only saw himself as The Businessman, a man who knew and understood his trade but couldn’t explain what he did to others very well. Because of this, he was convinced that he was boring.
The Businessman ordered a different thing every day at the restaurant. He hoped that one day he would take a last meal there, shake the waiters’ and the servers’ and the manager’s hands goodbye, and turn his back. He hoped he would have the opportunity and the courage to go somewhere different one day and leave the business district forever. He hoped.
In acting classes, there are always those extremely odd sessions where the teacher tells everyone to start speaking gibberish. I have to say that apart from being one of the sillier exercises a person can endure, it is also extremely interesting. I know that it might sound strange to say that a bunch of people standing around and making noises that are reminiscent of two-year olds’ babble is interesting, but it is.
Let me try to explain my point. People communicate by tone of voice and facial expression as well as by speech. For instance, a person can say the word “sure” and mean a few different things. They might mean “sure, yeah, right” in a sarcastic way, they might mean “sure” as in “okay,” or they might mean “sure” as in “oh, alright…” The only way we can distinguish between the possibilities is by the tone of voice and the expression used, as well as the body language the person uses while he or she is speaking.
The exercise of speaking gibberish is fascinating, because people can actually enact whole scens of love, friendship, anger or betrayal by not using any real words at all, but rather by using body language, facial expressions and tone of voice to make their meaning come across. It’s a terriffic exercise, and even though it’s hard to let yourself go and make pointless sounds for an hour, there’s a catharsis in being able to throw away all dignity whatsoever in such a performance.
Human logic: I feed the cat, therefor the cat is mine.
Cat logic: Human feeds me, therefor, human is my slave.
Human logic: Best time to pet cat is when relaxing, in front of the TV for instance.
Cat logic: Best time to be pet is when human is shuffling papers, typing on keyboard, or, as a general rule, whenever human is busy.
Human logic: Awe, my cat is rubbing his head on my leg. My cat loves me!
Cat logic: Notice me, Slave. I’m hungry.
Human logic: My cats are cuddling with each other – how sweet!
Cat logic: I’m cold, and am putting up with the other fur-ball. Turn the heater on, Slave.
Human logic: I’m a decent person, but I sure know my flaws and limits.
Cat logic: I am a cat. Therefor, I am perfect.
Human logic: Some days, I wish I could sleep forever. I know I can’t do that, though.
Cat logic: Zzzzzz…
Oftentimes it feels as if that space between one’s ears, that space that isn’t very large and shouldn’t be able to hold so much information – that space sometimes feels overfull. Thoughts crowd it, vying for position as the foremost amongst them. Feelings, which ultimately are all just caused by strange surges of electricity or chemicals, feelings also seem to crowd their own chambers; they don’t often make sense, and they tend to mix with the thoughts more often than not, causing a terrible tangle.
If only one could card out one’s thoughts and emotions like so much dirt out of wool. If only there were a way to silence the hundreds of half-formed ideas and concepts that jump around, just for a moment, just for a temporary relief. The silence and the privacy of that place in the mind seems somehow to be overwhelming and crowded, and one can’t help but wonder how, and if, anyone else deals with this.
Who knows? Perhaps you’re the only one with a crowded, tangled, snarled and unorganized mind. Perhaps everyone else’s minds work differently, perhaps they’re organized in tidy drawers and the thoughts can be pulled out neatly, one by one, and examined at the thinker’s leisure. Then again, maybe not. Maybe humanity, that sole race that seems to have such an extent of consciousness, is made up of billions of confused and messy-minded individuals, and each wonders if their mind is unique or if it is like this for everyone.