clanging around

So there I am, getting on the elevator at work to go have a coffee break. The building has been playing christmas carols all month, and when I get on, it’s a sweet, piping version of “I Saw Three Ships.” Except that over the delicate melody there’s a bell going CLANG, CLANG, CLANG, in time but without any melody whatsoever.

That’s it: that’s the inside of my head these days. Everything is cognitive dissonance. I can’t tell which way is up, I’m stuck on all my decision-making, and I’m having a harder and harder time coping with the competing inputs of “Dow closes at record high!” vs the multiple cold and hungry people right outside this building looking for spare change. My company does extravagant projects in places suffering massive financial distress. I cringe at the thought of the Pacific garbage island and buy more food wrapped in plastic anyway. The whole system leaves me unsettled and vaguely (or not so vaguely) guilty. But if I hope to ever have land I can call my own, I need the system to help me, both for up-front expenses (my down payment is coming mostly from a very generous stock gift from family) and ongoing ones (can’t pay a mortgage without a steady income, can you). The ability to leave the investment-and-progress game comfortably depends on having reached a not-insignificant degree of proficiency in it.

CLANG, CLANG, CLANG. It’s hard to hear myself think sometimes, the clash is so loud. The carols will stop playing by January—but I have a feeling it’ll take longer to resolve into harmony in my head.

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