Thursday, April 24, 2008


I woke up this morning
I could barely breathe

Just an empty impression
In the bed where you used to be

I want a kiss from your lips

I want an eye for an eye

I woke up this morning
To an empty sky

"Lonely" is not the word I would choose to describe how I feel when Luca is away. It's more caustic than that. It's a gnawing, a crawling, a primal contraction, unclassifiable. It's closer to fear than to isolation.

It was on Luca's latest business trip that I finally realized this sentiment is ridiculous. Not because I love him any less (never) but because love demands that you be better for it. But it’s hard to shoot for personal improvement when you are focused on trying to breathe.

So I went back to the most basic truth: for all my shortcomings (higher than average), I was created whole. Nobody's absence can possibly render me incomplete.

My life is enriched by the fact that I share it with Luca but on my deathbed I would regret the waste of wanting to skip the parts where he is not with me.

So he went to Australia, and I stayed behind. I rediscovered how much I like being alone. I enjoyed the silence, beauty and symmetric order of my house. I slept in the middle of the bed, diagonally. (Eureka - the antidote for imprints left on mattresses). I went on long hikes, read far into the night, discovered a spellbinding new author (and bookmooched all her work after reading that brilliant first one), went to lunch and coffee and visits with friends I hadn't seen (one in eleven months), attended a cozy housewarming/birthday party, bought flowers and plants for my yard and cooked elaborate meals for myself. I'd never bothered to cook for one, but, you know what? I'd be hard pressed to find a more appreciative audience.

This might be nothing to you, but when I woke up on Sunday morning and lay still to feel the cadence of my heartbeats and knew I had a beautiful day stretched out before me, I wanted to tell Bruce Springsteen that my sky is blue and crisp and anything but empty.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Drunk under the lamppost

My friend Nikhil recently told me the following joke:

A drunk loses the keys to his house and is looking for them under a lamppost. A policeman comes over and asks what he’s doing.

“I’m looking for my keys” he says. “I lost them over there”.

The policeman looks puzzled. “Then why are you looking for them all the way over here?”

“Because the light is so much better”.

We all look for things where the light is better, rather than where we’re more likely to find them. In words of Anais Nin, “we don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are”.

If this is true - and, who am I kidding? of course it is - I worry that we all stagger around, destined to be misunderstood. Or, worse. We’re all methodically, apocalyptically misunderstood, and it’s too dark to notice.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The instant karma of bookmooching

Bookmooch is a simple to use book swapping site. You register and give away books and in exchange mooch books from other people. You only pay for the price of shipping a book when you send one, which is how you collect points. In this way, receiving a book you’ve chosen is free.

I’ve commented before that books deserve a better life than to live on a cold shelf. Most of us read a book once, and then abandon it. In this way, a book fulfills its destiny: it’s held, appreciated and read by one, then passed on to be held and read again, indefinitely.

Sharing books also saves resources. Why buy a new book when what you want is lying around somewhere, unused?

I can’t promise I’ll never visit another bookstore, but I’ll definitely go less often now that I can mooch.

Friday, April 4, 2008

It's not about the wait

There is this balding, red haired guy in a building that I frequent. He's short and has a potbelly, red, wind burned cheeks and bloodshot eyes. He's missing a few teeth and usually has a two-day beard and a wrinkled uniform.

He's the guard on duty in the morning, and likes to stand with his hands behind his back against the elevator button. As I rush in, I can't push it at will. I have to wait instead until he decides to summon the elevator for me.

If, as I enter the lobby, one of the doors is closing, my impulse is to rush to push the button and stop the elevator, but, (you guessed it) with his body as an obstacle, my reflex must be suppressed. I have to stand there while he lets the car in question go, waits a couple of beats and then invisibly, so that I can’t be sure if he's done it at all, calls the next one.

I know what you're thinking, and I've openly admitted that patience is not one of my strongest characteristics. But this has only a little bit to do with the wait. This man relishes the fact that he alone dictates the rhythm of the people who venture into his territory.

We all trot in, clueless, out of breath, holding our briefcases and gym bags, balancing coffee cups and Blackberries, phones and Bluetooth headsets, and as he stops us in our tracks I turn and catch in that sad, haggard face an oh-so-slight lilt in the corner of his mouth, the faintest hint of a smile.

Photo from