actuality.log


Thursday, April the 17th, 2008

My fingers are refusing to type this; they’ve been numbed by the cold outside.

But I had to go out. I had to get away. Sitting at my desk was becoming too claustrophobic. It was as if the words on the screen before me were crawling out to smother me.

I seem to have blacked out the specific words I saw, but whatever they were, I heard them exclaim: “Leisure? You don’t have a right to leisure!”

When I formally concluded my graduate studies at the end of last year, I’d reached a crossroads in my life. So much of the past half decade of my existence had been devoted to the creation and completion of that one humongous document, I conveniently opted to ignore just about everything else. I hadn’t even contemplated the basic question of what I intended on doing thereafter, now that this chapter of my life was drawing to a close.

Thankfully, come new year’s eve, it dawned upon me that it’s better late than never, and I ought to pause now to think about things; to seriously contemplate the state of my existence, and search for where I was going with my life.

And I did. It’s what I’ve been doing for these past few months.

This period has been good for me. It hasn’t been particularly exciting or eventful, but I have a better idea of what I want: I want to be free. I want to be under the radar, not bound my society’s expectations. I don’t want commitment and I don’t want to be tied down by responsibility.

I want to read, to write, to express. I want to shoot pictures and sing in the rain. I want to spend my evenings at a smoky night-club under a Parisian cafe, reciting poetry, passionately debating the iniquity of a purely Neo-Marxist society with my beret’d friends.

It doesn’t matter if my activities can sustain me, or help me save toward a down-payment of a home, or impress a gold-digger enough for her to spend the rest of her life with me, or pay college tuition for the kids we’d likely have.

No, I just want leisure. That’s all I want—I want the time and space to pursue whatever I fancy.

And that’s why I stepped out into the cold. I had to get away.

I’d just learnt that as an international student here, it was new U.S. policy that one can’t amble along unemployed for too long after graduation; they have to do something with their lives. And since I can’t yet put my finger on what my something is, the next moment I did the only thing I know how—I returned to working at the uni; to spend even more time confined in a window-less cubicle.

Because somehow, it’s this that makes me a desired and productive member of society.

This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “Bohemian neurosis” from actuality.log. Visit http://emphaticallystatic.org/earlier/bohemian-neurosis/ to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

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