A Girl in a Painting

I forget where it was: Amsterdam or Haarlem, someplace Dutchish or Hollandese. Or San Francisco. Anyway, I was in an art museum, looking at all the pretty pictures, when I was taken aback by a painting of a group of townspeople focused on some spectacle in front of them . . . all except for one, a little girl, who has turned to make frank eye contact with the viewer of the painting. It was the most extraordinary thing, and I’ve been unable to get it out of my head recently, that knowing, conspiratorial gaze. You and I know better, it said, but we are paralyzed, unable to affect a single molecule of change in the pageant of human nature that must eternally play itself out. In the painting, in the world of the wise little girl, there is no evolution, no uncertain theory of Heisenberg; there is no hope in that jolly scene, no peace in that serene expression. Only horrors.

With you, dear reader, I make eye contact. I stand against a scene of torture, wars, lies, corruption, profound and willful ignorance, materialism, flashing lights, glamour. For a moment, we understand each other; that which is similar about ourselves and about our worlds pulsates, produces a chilling hum. You turn away.



I feel like writing but I don’t know what. My head is a little jammed. Not that I’d necessarily have it any other way, but an assistant would be good. Or a houseboy. Or a harem of talented men who can take care of all of my needs and whims. I don’t think it would be such a grueling job: I’m not a very whimsical person, and if you know how to vacuum and fold laundry, my needs are pretty much covered. The only reason they have to be men at all is the sex part. (This listing will have a special place on Craigslist.)

In other news, this has been a pivotal week: a job interview, a grad school interview, joining the gym, finally naming our new business, and . . . well, I don’t need to go over everything. The point is, one of the self-help poobahs I used to work with used to say, “The more you do, the more you are.” I guess that means I’m fat.



There is a lot of discussion these days about Susan Boyle, a homely, middle-aged woman who stunned the world with the revelation that homely, middle-aged people might actually be human beings with a full range of capabilities. The irony that all of this occurred in Britain, the land of homely people, seems to be lost. Sorry, Hateful British Audience Eventually Displaying a Heart of Gold, but it’s true.

Elsewhere in current events, a bunch of hateful Americans gathered the other day to vehemently protest the fact that we have a black president who is trying to improve their lives.

What else is new? Too much with me. This past week, I went on a trip, applied to grad school, got knee-deep in a new freelance job, proceeded with starting at least two new businesses, did a lot of maintenance behind the scenes of my old business, and performed some other actions that are unspeakable (some of which are actually unspeakable and some of which I think I just forgot amidst the other hubbub).

I realize that none of this was actually critical to convey, but you know how I love to put my two cents in.