Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

big strange deep  §

It’s raining outside. Raining like a bastard. I like it, except that there are no covered patios in all of fucking southern California. Right now I am tempted to begin to find all sorts of new uses for the term “god forsaken” but I’ll just let it go since there are at least a few little red leaves lying about the brickwork.

I’m told that there are tons of leaves on the ground in Salt Lake City, where I’ll be in a few days. Good news, but it’s tempered by the fact that (I’m told) Utah as a whole is in the midst of one of the longest “warm spells” in state history and is decidedly not fallish anyway, in spite of any leaves that have sacrificed themselves to the cause.

I have no money. I don’t know how I thought I would support myself once I quit my job — I didn’t think about it, I suppose, I just had to leave since I was actively losing money by keeping it and continuing to pay rent in this town — but things are coming to a head now. I have (hopefully) my security deposit, which I’ll be getting back when I land at my parents’ house, plus one high-end camera and one aging Volvo. Those are my only liqufiable assets (my only assets, really) in the entire world.

The rest is just me, in the flesh, a capital non-being (and, of course, the squishy bits don’t count for being in our neoliberal utopia). I was always taught that it was a noble thing to “contribute to the world” as an adult by engaging in some sort of productive enterprise aligned somehow with your talents. I begin to doubt that the world cares. I’m not at all sure at this point that I care. The “dream” of returning to school for a Ph.D. begins to seem a lot like the process of quitting my job without having another lined up: a lot of smoke and fury followed by a lot of “Oh, shit!” emptiness.

I’d write if I had something to write. Often I’m convinced that I really do have something to write, but usually when I sit down and actually try to make things come out of my fingers, all I get is the petering out of a particularly banal stream of shit.

Could it be that my native role in life is merely that of laborer-consumer?

I don’t know. I really don’t.

The Starbucks, which doubles as corporate office for half of America these days, myself included — simply because of its monopoly on functioning, reliable, inexpensive internet access outside the home — has just installed a series of study tables, each seven feet long and double-sided, surrounded by seven chairs, topped with two built-in desk lamps, with a series of outlets in the middle.

Given Project Gutenberg and projects at Amazon and Google to scan whatever printed matter they happen to come across, and given the near-saturation of Starbucks with students and tie-wearers, I think the new desks, which are decidedly un-coffeehouse-like, are the material manifestation of the new library-space paradigm: “In the future, he said, all places will be libraries, and all of them will have an infinite number of books. It won’t matter what you do for a living or where you go or what you eat or when you sleep, no matter what you’ll always be at the library, and you’ll always be living through the library.”

Or whatever.

I have to go to Los Angeles now.