April 14, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on April 13, 2018

Boston gears up for a big weekend, starting today with the Catholics celebrating Good Friday. Then, on Sunday it’s Easter. (Passover, which started last Monday, also continues, until Tuesday.) And, co-incidentally, the Boston Marathon is on Monday.

W. went in to work this morning, and will also be commuting on Monday. I tried out my “new” routine (which included exercising first), before walking with W. to the station. It’s a crisp morning – it was only 35ºF outside when we got up (and 37º when we left), and since I had turned the heat right off, the house felt really cold. As in 60ºF cold. I turned the heat on, just to get a jolt of warmth, and when I came home turned it off again (even though it’s still only 66ºF). But we’ll get a fair bit of solar gain as the day wears on, and for now it’s fine. Might turn it on again tomorrow, predicted to be the same temps as today. But Sunday we’re supposed to spike into 80ºF. Crazy crazy crazy.

Yesterday I again picked up Peter Thiel’s From Zero to One, which I got from the library weeks ago, but haven’t been able to really get into. I’m on the opposite side of his praise of monopolies, for example, so that even if I “understand” why he’s praising them (they can make the monopolists a shitload of money), I abhor what happens socially. But, okay, I give it another idle scan while running some maintenance programs on my old Macbook. And I come across a paragraph that blows me out of my seat. Page 61, Chapter 6, Section, “Can You Control Your Future?” Thiel writes, “You can expect the future to take a definite form or you can treat it as hazily uncertain. If you treat the future as something definite, it makes sense to understand it in advance and to work to shape it. But if you expect an indefinite future ruled by randomness, you’ll give up on trying to master it.”

I used to treat my future as something quite definite and shape-able. Through a concatenation of events and setbacks, however, I’ve allowed my mother’s negative view of the future as random (and therefore uncontrollable) to become dominant. I’ve actually – I just realized! – dressed my attitude up as a sort of new-age-y “go with the flow”-chillaxin’ kind of grooviness, when in fact it’s what Louise Huebner indicted as the psychological equivalent of shuffling around all day in hair curlers (she was a 1960s gal). So c’mon, get your groove back, shape your future, girl. Lose the curlers, the slippers, the easy-laid-back-go-with-the-flow bullshit and instead see your future. Look it in the eye instead of up its arse.

For some reason, these sentences in Thiel’s book really spoke to me – even though there’s nothing particularly original to what he’s saying. Not at all.

I still don’t know what I want, and that’s a problem. But I have to start seeing some options again, I have to focus. I don’t know where I really want to live, and that’s a problem. I know I want an urban, walkable space, but not claustrophobic, and I don’t want the harshness of Montreal or eastern Canada, nor the isolation and/or earthquake dangers of British Columbia, nor the automobile culture of California. And I want to make something that people will notice and perhaps like. Another book. Written things. Photo blends.

I scanned over a bit of what follows in the Thiel book, and it’s frighteningly good. Maybe I will finish reading it after all. I wonder what kind of mother Peter Thiel had (has). I doubt she inculcated him with maxims like, “Don’t try too hard, you’ll only be disappointed,” or, another of my mother’s favorites, “Life is like a chicken coop ladder: full of shit from top to bottom.” In response, whenever she would say these things to me, I stayed calm. But I should have been angry. I should have screamed.


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