Life has just three rules:
Paradox - Life is a mystery, don’t waste time trying to figure it out
Humor - Keep a sense of humor, especially about yourself it is a strength beyond all measure
Change - Know that nothing stays the same
Last Night in Montreal
The problem, Eli used to think before he met her, was that he’d never suffered, except insofar as everyone does: the stalled trains, the alarm clocks that don’t ring when they’re supposed to, the agony of being surrounded by other people who all give the impression of being way more prolific and considerably more talented than you are, wet socks in the winter, being alone in any season, the chronic condition of being misunderstood, zippers that break at awkward moments, being unheard and then having to repeat yourself embarrassingly in front of girls you’re trying to impress, trying to impress girls and failing, girls who can’t be seduced and/or turn out to have boyfriends in the morning, girls, being alone, paper grocery bags with falling-out bottoms, waiting in line at the post office for a half hour and then being snapped at because you don’t have the right customs declaration forms to send the birthday gift to your perpetually traveling brother, waiting in line anywhere, phone calls from a disapproving mother who doesn’t understand, the crowd of overeducated friends who understand too much and can’t resist bringing up long-dead philosophers and/or quantum physics over an otherwise perfectly civilized morning coffee, girls, an overall lack of direction and meaning as evidenced in your inability to either finish the thesis, abandon the current thesis and write a different thesis all together, finish the different thesis, or heroically give up the whole thing completely and go to work at a gas station somewhere upstate, stepping in things on the sidewalk, lost buttons, most kinds of rain, standing in line at the grocery store behind the lady who just knows there’s a coupon in here somewhere, girls, and the sense that all of this adds up to a life that’s ultimately pretty shallow and doesn’t really mean that much, particularly in comparison to the older brother saving children in Africa.
…the writing was wild and allowed for no margins, words crashing up against the edges of the page:
I wanted to be her north star, I wanted to be her map. I wanted to drink coffee with her in the cafes in the mornings and do things, as you do, as she did, instead of just philosophizing about them and deconstructing their endless Russian-doll layers of meaning. I was alone before I met her. I wanted to disappear with her, and fold her into my life. I wanted to be her compass. I wanted to be her last speaker, her interpreter, her language. I wanted to be her translator, Zed, but none of the languages we knew were the same.