Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Smell of coffee and grease in a fast food restaurant, smell of exhaust fumes along a busy street, musty smell of a basement apartment, funky roast turkey and mashed potatoes smell of a toilet, smell of garbage in the garbage bin under the kitchen counter, each place is a little world, with its own set of rules, emotions and mental associations.

To underline this platitude, by turning it into a science or psychology project, maybe throw in a little philosophy and presto!... you have a Lobadoesque experience. Readers are welcome to try this experiment, while reading this post. I'm doing it while writing. I just took too slices of stale black bread, baked using a genuine Moscow recipe. You gotta be careful to check the expiry date. The bread was stale when I took it out of the wrapper. However, I won't waste it. Even stale black bread is good when toasted.

The point of this experiment is to see what happens. From a traditional point of view, whatever that may be, there is no point. I mean, what's the point of life, other than the fact that you're born and once born, have no choice but to live? Once you're alive, you can't make life go away. That's a basic rule of the game. Howl and squeal all you like, you're stuck in existence and there's no escape, other than to cheer up and make a virtue of necessity. Of course, most people enjoy being alive. Thank goodness. I'd hate it if people walked around feeling the way I do.

The toast pops up. Spread peanut butter on the hard bread. Plug in the coffee maker and make a pot of coffee. Crunchy toast and black coffee go well together, acrid taste, which brings boreal forest to mind. The smell of moss, mud, rotting tree stumps, fungus and lichen goes together with the smell of rotting, damp wood and mildew of a basement apartment. To eat this bread is like eating strong smell and unhealthy vapors and then washing it down with industrial waste.

The hypothesis: focusing on mundane, daily activities could keep the mind focused, so that it is less likely to be swept away into negative conundrums. The more one pays attention to details, the less opportunity the mind has to wallow in despair. A distracted mind is more likely to be vulnerable to upsurges of misery than a focused mind.

Ok, so I'm eating the molasses-flavored rye bread and drinking black coffee, while the refrigerator hums away next to my chair. Earplugs can be helpful to dampen decibels of unwanted technological noise. Toast crumbs on the counter will soon have to be wiped away and the dishes washed. The window, situated at street level, offers a view of pavement outside and the foundation of the building next door.

Conclusion: it works. Give it a try. Set up a daily ritual that allows no time for weeping and wailing, or gnashing of teeth. My daily ritual: wake up. Eat breakfast. Walk to a cafe. Enjoy a coffee. Read, write, draw and then go home and get to work on whatever project one set up for the day. At the end of the day, one can feel that something was accomplished. More pictures were made and texts written.

No comments: