a good feeling…
The worst thing is to forget the story. You know what I mean, don’t you? You are half asleep and there’s this magical tale that spins itself out just for you. You are excited, all caught up with the thought of putting it down on paper, plotting the characters, writing the dialogues, and setting up that intriguing climax. At that instant, you are supposed to wake up and jot down the outline before the apparition vanishes. That is what I normally do.
Such visions come rarely. If you are the travelling sort, they probably make their presence felt more consistently, but for a reasonably sloppy frozen-to- the- desk specimen as your truly, these things take their time.
And then I refuse to wake up. Imagine a greater tragedy than that? There goes the story never told before. You know it’s not coming back no matter how hard you try. And you can’t, but help feel wretched about it. Sunday was that way.
These days I only seem to be in between conversations. On the terrace and below it. In the office and outside it. People pull up their chairs, sit around the tables, and talk shop. I pull up mine too. But I have nothing much to say. They talk about people from their lives, people they have known intimately, people they have had a fleeting acquaintance with; so they connect, share the easy laugh, then move on to another common.
I laugh too, the easy laugh of one who gets the context, but was outside it when the said situation happened. Still I sit through, dropping in those odd jokes that don’t need a context.
Sometimes I think life is like the normal distribution. A neat bell shaped curve, where more often than not, things tend to drift toward the mean. The wise men always told us nature was symmetrical, that most phenomena that seem arbitrary are easily explained by the normal distribution. With nature that might be a good thing. A curious god-like intervention to carve symmetry and beauty into our lives.
With life itself, not so. I wish things wouldn’t drift toward the mean. I like the outliers. They are what make things interesting, they are what make the mean a worthwhile resting point. But when minutes, hours, days and months cluster around the mean, average if you will, the outliers loom like larger than life moments, attention that they don’t deserve to get.
The aim therefore of life ought to be to make that bell curve as broad as it can get, to cram enough into it, spread it out wide enough that even when things are clustered around the average, they are far more apart than the normal curve of most others.
Standard deviation is not just a statistical concept. It is what makes life a worthwhile pursuit. The bane of modern capitalism lies in the banishment of standard deviation, not just in the things we manufacture, but from our work lives itself.