In The Pursuit of Leisure

24 August 2014

She drinks coffee. She pours liquid from the French press into a small coffee cup. She has an entire cupboard full of coffee mugs of all sizes. She has four coffee mugs on which various portions of the images disappear or transform when hot liquid flows into them.

Earlier in the day she took a drive. She rolled down the windows. She could feel fall sliding in to replace summer. Her hair was dry and would surely be in disarray when she arrived at her destination. Sunday was the day she used no additional products on her body. No deodorant. No conditioner. No hair gel. Toothpaste, soap and shampoo were the maximum allowable, although she would opt for sunscreen if she ventured into the sun for too long. (This was a rare occasion.)

She listened to Dead Kennedys at a loud volume as she zoomed down one of the city’s major arteries. (Would it be a vein now as it was pumping her toward the heart of the town?) Her heart was beating fast. She had no coffee so the pure adrenaline of pointed punk sonics left her shaking in a way in which she wasn’t often familiar. How much of her life was spent in the thick of caffeine rushes? She wasn’t convinced she ever had true feelings, feelings she could actually cleave from other substances (caffeine, tea, music, people). Did she need a holiday in Cambodia?

She bought the Sunday edition of a major newspaper from a corporate bookstore. She considered buying a coffee to go, but wanted the experience of making coffee at home, drinking several cups while listening to music and trying to get through the nearly insurmountable stack of news she now had in a bag. The woman ahead of her in line had a hand basket full of items. The clerk finished ringing in the woman’s items, completed the transaction and handed her the loot in a single bag. “All of it fit in one bag,” the woman asked with noticeable disbelief and reproof. “It all fit in one basket,” she thought as she stood in line empty-handed going over and over the precise words she would use to ask for the Sunday paper. (She wondered if Joe Jackson was reading the news at that very moment. She actually wondered if Joe Jackson was alive. An Internet search later would reveal he is alive and has moved on to “eclectic, though less commercially successful, pop/jazz/classical hybrids.” When she first heard Sugar Ray’s version of “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” on the radio, she wanted to shout to everyone within earshot that Joe Jackson did it first and best and everyone should probably get on with the business of letting Sugar Ray fade into oblivion. She knew, however, that a lack of quality current taste for pop music and an atavistic longing for even the worst music of the 1990s would keep Sugar Ray in indefatigable and inevitable infinite rotation.)

She never finished the Sunday edition of the newspaper. She only cared to supplement her constant magazine reading with more in-depth analysis of recent events. She made her way through the voluminous text, ink staining her fingers and Deadmau5 ringing in her ears. At work she once made a joke upon hearing an upbeat electronica song that it reminded her of her clubbing days. She never had such days and probably never would, although in the interstices of her being lay secret notions that she could one day spend a week in Ibiza following the sweaty throng from club to club, dancing jumping gyrating to Oakenfold and taking club drugs and wearing very little.

The adrenaline had worn off. The coffee had kicked in. Her friends were at the pool. She was learning about the separate declared caliphates of the Islamic State and Boko Haram. The world is always and existence is constant until it isn’t. Inertia is an enemy; not so great as evil or even evil-disguised-as-good (religion), but certainly her biggest enemy. Television. Smart phone. Gaming apps. She partook in more opiates than Coleridge, but had none of the Khan-do attitude he had.

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