Trains of Thought, Uncategorized
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XXX. frayed

A watch of nightingales, a kit of pigeons, an abandon of thoughts.

The equivalent of grinding lenses today? What would Spinoza do? Code? The computer is our primary optical device, a  telescope of sorts. People are stuck to them as they walk around.

Activity behind me that I cannot see. She was penciling her face when I walked past to sit one row in front. Now she must be packing her face-colours away. Breakfast wrappers uncrinkle audibly.

In a pink shirt he reads something about Manchester United in large font on a Samsung phone, his blue bag so frayed you wouldn’t keep it unless attachment to it was a carelessly formed habit, like chewing fingernails, which he does too.

The train is full after three stops and the driver’s young voice announces another unscheduled stop at Welwyn Garden City.

His fair hair matches a Sainsbury’s bag. Blue pullover, blue shirt. He is studying Japanese with a frayed exercise book.

Yesterday between Farringdon and St. Pancras two men talked about a younger colleague at work: I think he has overextended himself, three kids, house, car. It’s only twenty years later that you feel like you’re on top of things. It’s not easy. You can’t compare yourself to others. I don’t think about what others are making, that’s their problem. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. The noughties… how old is he 31? I’d tell him when I was his age I was earning nowhere close, even with inflation. Their expectations are just unrealistic. In our day we were different. Doesn’t job security count for something? A couple of grand more elsewhere doesn’t mean much. Different industry, supply and demand at the time… Hope to talk on him on Monday and knock some sense in to him but I’m not holding my breath. He stays late, he’s putting the time in for the future.

A good mediator is like Zhuangzi’s butcher.

The stopped train bathes in silence.

Si tout est commandé par un projet trop précis, trop articulé, toute l’œuvre se sclérose et glisse à la fabrication; si tout est laissé à l’éventuel de la «textualité» pure, tout se dissout en un parlage sans résonance et sans harmoniques. Le récit est refus du hasard pur, la poésie négation de tout vouloir-écrire défini et prémédité. Il faut accepter de se mouvoir dans ce clair-obscur trompeur, savoir passer sans cesse des chemins à suivre aux chemins à frayer. Julien Gracq

We prefer images of the active mind, not images of the resting, re-uniting mind, the mind going to sleep.

It is not without reason that we are taught to consider sleep as a resemblance of death: with how great facility do we pass from waking to sleeping, and with how little concern do we lose the knowledge of light and of ourselves. Peradventure, the faculty of sleeping would seem useless and contrary to nature, since it deprives us of all action and sentiment, were it not that by it nature instructs us that she has equally made us to die as to live; and in life presents to us the eternal state she reserves for us after it, to accustom us to it and to take from us the fear of it. Montaigne – Chapter 6

Red brown comfortable shoes. Light blue and white striped shirt. Hair parted down the middle, brown with white strands. A small watch. A blue bag with various logos.

An announcement at Ashwell and Morden: I’ve just reached Thameslink control, finally got through to them, and we’re no longer going to stop at Stevenage and Letchworth. It’s just too crowded, that would be ridiculous. I can only apologise if you are going to Stevenage and Letchworth. We are now straight to King’s Cross. Two people get off at this small station. There won’t be many trains for them from here. The driver’s personality can shape a journey. One driver will tell passengers to ram together more tightly at every station. Others perceive the train to be overcrowded relatively quickly.

White hair, glasses all the way on nose, white and blue striped jacket. Blue white chequered shirt, bag on table with a gold tag. White hair neatly parted. Plugs in the adapter to charge. Mac user. Relatively large ears. Well tended skin.

Real or imagined conversations: 

I had to go to London to sort out the financial relationship with our employer which I’ve now done to great advantage. But I’m sorry, could you give me one word…. that sounds totally sensible, sounds fine to me. You bet. I’m sorry that I didn’t get the chance to talk to you but I’m sure you’ve done the right thing, it was inescapable for me. Travel well. You bet. Bye.

I’m sitting on a train waiting to leave King’s Cross. I finished completely… they said: you can go on holiday, you can take us with you. That’s looking at the amount of money coming out of it… think in terms of E. having lunch tomorrow. Not an early lunch, I’m thinking a long aperitif… I’m thinking the guys at his lab. He’s invited me and J.L to go out on Sunday afternoon which I’m keen to do, these are the key players. But anyway let’s think in terms of having a really nice lunch tomorrow. I could pick up some stuff from Waitrose on the way back… ok salad, what else. Well we could get some beef, roasted and marinated. Salmon would be nice. But it would be good to get it cooked and let it go cold rather than get it pre-cooked. What would be a sensible amount? I hope they’ll have wild, do you think they’ll have wild salmon….

Did you do anything about those flowers, good ok… was it a nice bouquet? It looked good eh? That doesn’t mean a wedding or a funeral or anything like that? Hahaha. Well how about “congratulations on your funeral?” Well I’m just wondering what the symbolism is because I’ve been caught out on that. Good, terrific. No I decided not to change the booking too much hassle I’ll stay in Boston…

Intricate cascades of operational incidents: technical fault at Cambridge, signalling faults at Foxton followed by congestion at Kings Cross. An Engineering position at Cambridge. Held at Letchworth therefore late to arrive in Cambridge.

Olive tie over white shirt, Alienware laptop placed on a piece of folded paper, wireless mouse, orange banded wristwatch, an orange stain on the cuff linked to the other with a blue standard issue fabric-made link. Square blue tinted Carrera sunglasses perched on head.

Beside me a young man in grey cargo pants and a green close-fitting pullover (isn’t it too warm?) is preparing a budget for a gym: joiners MTD, joiner’s budget, variance, joiners run rate budget…

Next to the man with the olive tie sits a man with a blue, red, black, white chequered Gant shirt. An alert has just reminded him to pay his Barclaycard bill today. He is bald with fleshy jowls.

A man with very frayed shoes and a classic Casio digital watch sits watching the progress bar of a file downloading or copying process on his laptop. The progress bar was at 10% when he began his journey. It is now at 30% and he shuts his computer at the end of this line.

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