The drudgery of illness ate up May. A sluggardly recovery ate up June. Now I find myself lurching unbeknownst into July. I have just finished a month of medical care and recuperation in Georgetown. That sounds soothing. But my body is stuffed with medicines and food and drink and vitamins. My head is stuffed with books, TV, experiences: freak shows and gangsters and hospitals and Ayn Rand and ghosts and terrible R&B on huge flatscreens and Guyanese murders and development cynicism and Series Five of ‘24’, all gulped down half-digested. I know this is the standard variety and layeredness of distractions available to most people for every waking moment of their lives, but it comes as a rude shock after five months of solid Aishalton. World Cup matches and palaver, ever-intensifying thriller cliffhangers, wikipedia to answer every idle query, novels laying out their inventions end on end, enough to reach the moon and make it back before bedtime. How is one to survive it? I am bursting, exploding, ripping at the seams with too much stimulation.
Salesmen in all their guises (peddlers of dreams or discontent or tat) would be delighted with me, stuffing myself with diversions until I am utterly distracted. They get to us young so that we can’t conceive of any other reality (half an hour of pre-Christmas advertising proves that); so that we can’t even fall asleep without accessories. To quote the Grinch, “And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! noise! Noise! NOISE!” I understand afresh what it means to say that I cannot hear myself think. My head feels like a computer that has been set to process too many commands at once. It doesn’t shut down: it suspends, and stays stuck. Where is the open space to live in the midst of it all? And how many of us can avoid being enticed away from the search? I wonder if that is what Kierkegaard means when he says that purity of heart is to will one thing.