A few years ago I began to have the sense that I no longer knew who I was. Accordingly, I tried to work it out rationally. What I ended up with was the strong suspicion that I’m not actually anybody. That wasn’t so bad because it meant that I could still do what I do best: observe everybody else. But then the reasoning which led to the suspicion that I’m not anybody also strongly suggested that nobody else is anybody either. That’s a bit of a shock because it makes you feel like whatever speck of non being you are, it’s floating in an otherwise empty universe in which a mere billion light years is small potatoes when compared with infinite space. And that, of course, is an irrational concept. It also makes you feel a tad cut off.
(This is a bit bigger than Paul Simon walking off to look for America, by the way, exceedingly pleasant though the song might be.)
More latterly, it’s led to another question: Should I write yet another final e-mail to Zoe, explaining why I still buy bagels and telling her what a strong and scintillating memory she is? If I’m nobody, there wouldn’t be any point. And if she’s nobody, there would be even less point. And if, after all my deliberations, it turns out that she’s actually somebody, I doubt she’d give a tupp’ny toss anyway.
This is why I smile at earnest people who say they want to find themselves. My advice, if I felt inclined to give it, would have to be ‘I wouldn’t bother if I were you. You’ll probably either get it wrong or discover that you aren’t actually anybody. And then you might get lonely.’
But now something else is bothering me. One of these days I’ll arrive at The Gates, and the gatekeeper will ask me what I was in life. ‘I don’t really know,’ I’ll reply. ‘A philosopher?’ And then I’ll hang my head in shame when I see him roll his eyes.
‘But were you ever an artist?’ he’ll continue.
(I’m assuming the gatekeeper will be a Buddhist.)
* * *
I’m in a strange mood tonight. I keep wanting to snack on things savoury and buttery. So far I’ve permitted myself a bag of crisps and three shortcake biscuits (cookies to the DYs, I think.) I’m wondering whether my brain needs feeding, but I’m not sure I have one.
* * *
I didn’t think I was going to make a post today, since I’m afflicted with a touch of melancholia (the black variety.) Maybe I haven’t, but I just re-read what I think I’ve written, and realised that it gets my goat when journalists don’t know the difference between ‘compare with’ and ‘compare to.’
Is anybody still reading this? I’ll probably come to my senses when I’ve had a drink and wish I’d never posted it.