I was stood up by a man I barely knew and it made me feel as if I had acute vestibular neuritis. He must have met someone younger. There must have been some signs I missed or did not interpret correctly. But then again, maybe there was no reason I was stood up, reason being nothing more than a crutch for the weak-minded. Everything is disconnected, and whenever I hear someone say that everything is connected it makes me reach for my revolver. I mean that figuratively, of course. Standing there on the corner waiting for the man made me feel like an it, like an object, like an empty can of soda. Theoretically speaking I don’t think there is anything wrong with feeling this way as long as your constitution can handle it, and mine can’t. There are many people who enjoy being devoid of subjectivity, such as the literary critic Ihab Hassan. I was carrying a copy of Hassan’s Selves at Risk: Patterns of Quest in Contemporary American Letters in my back pocket and periodically I would read from it to alleviate the boredom and anxiety I felt while waiting for the man. My eyes were taking in the words but I did not understand anything Hassan was writing about. My mind wandered and I started making up a story with Hassan as the main character. In this story Hassan is about to leave for the airport when his wife demands he unscrew his penis and leave it at home while he is abroad since he won’t be needing it anyway. So Hassan unscrews his penis, hands it to his wife, kisses her on the cheek and hops into the car that is going to take him to the airport. Once he is safely out of view he opens up his briefcase and takes out the spare penis he keeps with him for these very occasions. The spare penis, unlike the one he wears around the house, is extra-large and the color of a fine Merlot. That’s as far as I got telling myself this story before I gave up on waiting. I had been standing on the corner for over two hours. By the time I arrived at my apartment I had already managed to work myself into a lather of denial about what had just happened. I told myself that punctuality was a false value. I told myself that I didn’t care if people were late, just as long as they arrived at some point in time. This minor bout of self-abnegation lasted for only a couple of minutes before I decided to open the window in my bedroom and throw myself out. On the way down I could not decide if this was the end of me or the beginning of someone else.
The Machine Which Has No Function But To Destroy Itself