June 18th, 2008

Existential Waffles

In a twist on my usual insomnia, last night I couldn’t fall asleep until 2, instead of waking up then. I put my time to use in reading; Brent loaned me a book called What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson. It is a collection of stories about how people address this big question in life, beginning with a man who has an actual letter from the Dalai Lama telling him the purpose of his life and branching out from there into people with many clues, a few clues, or none at all.

I wish the Dalai Lama would write to me. Or, as I usually phrase it, God could send a lightning bolt or something.

I’m not sure it is good for me to read this book. I am susceptible to existential questions the way some people carry strep germs; any time I get run down, out come all the doubts to infect me.

Lacking a lightning bolt, I have had to try other things. Books. There are lots and many of them are comforting and inspiring. For a while I let my own superstitious nature run rampant, examining the entrails of my dreams and endowing everyday events with predictive power and considering the Jungian archetypes hidden in the tarot. I pray.

This morning I got up and took Cricket for a walk. She bounded through the sprinklers along the sidewalk. When we circled back for home, the sun blazed in my face. Then Brent and I went to breakfast to satisfy his days-old craving for waffles.

The woman who served us took care of everything we needed with grace and kindness. She did not gush or pretend to a relationship we didn’t have. She brought us our food with a smile, checked on us, and left us alone. I have no idea how she feels about her job, but if her performance is any indication, she has found her right work. That fed me more than the waffle.