I have always been prone to using my mind to amuse myself. Every child is, but I never grew out of it. Throughout high school and college I would take moments to day dream, spend my time between classes in quiet contemplation, and sometimes spend a little bit too much time on fantasy and not enough on friends. I always had dreams of being a writer, and I can remember there being worlds inside my head from when I was a very young lad. I recall an incident when I was 6 and expressed frustration to a friend's mother at my inability to explain everything I saw within the confines of my skull.
That hasn't changed.
Like I said there are disadvantages to being an introvert. It limits your desire to find other people to have social experiences with, and it can lead you to neglect things like cleanliness of room or neatness of hair. There are grand advantages though, and today it paid great dividends.
At work today I was put on courier duty, traveling to various destinations in the city with a bag full of things to deliver and a few items I had been instructed to pick up. In all it took about 3 hours and it could have been a royal pain in the butt, especially the hour and fifteen minutes spent in the local election board office waiting for his absentee ballot. Instead it was a glorious tour of both a beautiful city and my mind. I brought my CD player with me, stocked with 22 tracks of Nat "King" Cole, a couple other CDs for good measure, and of course my fantasies. I can't describe just how beautiful the experience was, but it was a day I don't think I'll soon forget. I took dance lessons with a pretty girl while "Straighten Up and Fly Right" filled my ears. I strolled down Houston while in my mind swimming alone beneath a full moon up in Maine, assisted by REM's "Nightswimming." In the election board office there was no music, but plenty of time to reflect on the election and the state of my life among other things. There was also the most beautiful woman there with her young daughter. This woman was like one of those little twelve year old girls who have just an irrepressible charm about them but in 30 year old form. She had freckles and shoulder length blonde hair, and her delight with her daughter was incredible to behold. She beamed from ear to ear as the little girl pushed a carrot at her face and laughed and played with her child while around her a bunch of miserable people sat watching the clock and waiting for their ballots to come so they could cast basically irrelevant votes against the Boy Tyrant. I hope whoever fathered that child is a very generous man and deserving of a family like that. Those two females are the reason they say that women are all men will ever know of paradise on earth.
After I got the ballot I took the 1 train up to where I thought my next stop was, and I do love the 1, for Sentimental Reasons. When I discovered that I was about 12 blocks south of my ultimate destination (my boss's fault) I had a lovely stroll up Broadway, through Herald and Times Squares, with Nat singing so sweetly in my ear and kind words from beautiful girls reverberating in my mind. The trip back downtown on the A train was simply Unforgettable.
I won't go into detail on all the fantasies I had over the course of the three hours but what struck me was how well tuned my mind is for that sort of thing. I was walking through the city, observing the sights and sounds of the greatest Metropolis on Earth, and yet also deep in reflection and contemplation. It was simple lovely, and I realized how lucky I am to have an inner life like mine. Yes it is full of doubt and pain, but heart wrenching unimaginable beauty as well, beauty that doesn't necessarily exist in everyone else's mundane day. I have cultivated it at great expense, it's true, but I don't think I'd change that if I could. It was also another reinforcement of the wisdom of my decision to pursue a life of creative labor rather than money or status through law or some other means. I wouldn't trade walking through downtown at 2 PM with Nat "King" Cole music on the headphones for anything. Every day should be lovely and magical, and it can be too. That's worth more than any title or fancy car. None of us know whether we'll be alive to see tomorrow. When we go to bed tonight we should all be able to reflect back on a day with great and repeatable pleasures, and hope for even more in the future.
I know I do.
(This entry written under the influence of a little Glenmorangie scotch and a lot of Frank Sinatra. I know I recently talked about having stopped drinking, but there are studies that show that moderate alcohol use makes you smarter, and I realized that what I object to is not so much drinking as drinking and trying to do things, like hold conversations and parties. I believe that wanting to dull your senses and adulterate your thoughts is generally a sign that you are dissatisfied with your normal brain functioning and have need of a crutch to achieve happiness. On the other hand a slight relaxing of control on occasion can be a good thing, and the taste of Scotch with Sinatra playing is simply electric. It takes you back to a whole different time, place, and culture. It's a beautiful experience and as long as such an experience is relatively harmless it should not be avoided. Being relentlessly straight edged and having rules of behavior and thought that you needlessly apply to yourself is just as childish as going out and getting sloshed or baked every night. Experiment. Dabble. Be a little bit of a dilettante. The world is filled with endless possibilities. Think oh so carefully before shutting the door on any of them.)