Anna Arkadyevna read and understood, but it was unpleasant for her to read, that is, to follow the reflection of other people’s lives. She wanted too much to live herself. When she read about the heroine of the novel taking care of a sick man, she wanted to walk with inaudible steps round the sick man’s room; when she read about a Member of Parliament making a speech, she wanted to make that speech; when she read about how Lady Mary rode to hounds, teasing her sister-in-law and surprising everyone with her courage, she wanted to do it herself. But there was nothing to do, and so, fingering the smooth knife with her small hands, she forced herself to read. (100)
I read this passage early yesterday in Anna Karenina while lying out in the sunshine on my roof, thinking similar things to the sentiments of this character, thinking that, yes, this is why I am moving a bit slowly through this book, why I don’t read as much as I should be doing so, and why I write even less so, why, in fact, it is that I fall far short in some ways of the expectations I have for myself, and why in other ways I am so incredibly happy. It is because the idea of reading, of immersing myself in the story of this and that person, seems like such a less thrilling option than the alternatives that have been presenting themselves to me this past week, that being the company of a close friend seeking out the company of others, of being out on these city streets and going from place to place, finding half smoked cigarettes on the ground and smoking them, drinking coffee or energy drinks or consuming diet pills, and then finding things, hopefully free things, to drink, and then when the stars are really aligning, good music will be playing and dancing will be happening, and I will see cute boys that I want to make out with and I will try to do so, nine times out of ten failing to do so, but that pursuit and living, even if just for brief moments, with the potential of these things within reach, things both unimaginable and imaginable, is enough to counter that low probability and the inevitable disappointment at the end of the night when I am opening the door to my apartment alone.
Not that I was living a monastic life before quitting my job, but this past month has been a nonstop vacation, of pursuing fun in every possible corner, every possible night. I have been working so incredibly little, working so incredibly little in every sense of the phrase, meaning both with respect to the type of work that leads to monetary gain and the type that leads to other types, a deeper sense of self-satisfaction perhaps. This week though, I am going to get back into the habit of vaguely resembling a life centered around normal office hours as I will be working at the copyediting job this week while my old boss is out of town. And the following week will hopefully involve me working temp jobs, even the shitty ones offered to me before, as I intend to save up money to take a trip in a couple of months.
Yesterday, for a brief few hours in the morning and early afternoon, the weather was sunny and approaching sixty degrees, this before it got cloudy and the temperature dropped in the mid-afternoon, and I made it my goal to get out there in that sunshine and take it in. Lying on my rooftop, I did so, and with a joy mirroring that joy of being in the company of cute boys and there being that imagined potential bliss, the knowledge that it could possibly be around the corner with the right words, was how I felt in that sun, so thrilled about the sunshine of spring and the warmth that is so close, approaching. And, today, it is cloudy again, chilly again, but there is the knowledge of things to come that makes this joy persistent. There is that knowledge of the cyclical nature of seasons. There is that and so many other things.