detail from Labels for Hair Ribbons by Manuel Ocampo a delectable selection of oriental appetizers
Thursday, October 10, 2002

: . The Pleasures of Everyday Life:

My friend E. sent me this snippet from E. M. Forster's A Passage to India today:
    Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence. Inside its cocoon of work or social obligation, the human spirit slumbers for the most part, registering the distinction between pleasure and pain, but not nearly as alert as we pretend. There are periods in the most thrilling days during which nothing happens, and though we continue to exclaim, 'I do enjoy myself,' or, 'I am horrified,' we are insincere.

Strangely enough, she sent this from her corner cubicle in the "world headquarters" of the uber-corporate Lehman Brothers in Midtown Manhattan, overlooking Radio City Music Hall. Amid the tedium and the exhiliration of everyday life, she has hollowed out a space for the pleasures of reading. I suspect that she sincerely enjoys herself there.

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