Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Cloths of Heaven are Old Shirts and Dark Slacks

When I was in college I knew an old lady who would curse at me through my fog of oversensitive biases.

“I don’t take aspirin,” I said. “I don’t believe in it.”

“Pills are fantastic!” she yelled. “I was on pills and wrote a novel and had a love affair.”

I once told her that I was dreaming almost every night of sitting in classrooms. She thought for a moment—she was driving—and said: “Carl Jung says that boring dreams indicate a boring person.”

This burned its way into my brain like a curse and stayed with me for years. It was as if a wizard had cast a spell: remain forever soft and dull, in black shirts and black shoes with short hair. Other people went rafting down the Ganges but I was here in Brooklyn reading about Unicode.

Thus I used to feel ashamed and useless when everyone told me to go everywhere and do everything. But you dig a ditch, and then another ditch, and then sit and look at the ditch for a while, figuring out how you could be a better digger, ignoring people who love the ditch too much and shrugging off people who wish the ditch was a hill, and then you start up the digging again. No airplanes or Bodhi trees; just me and a machine and the occasional cat. It may be boring, but I am living my dreams.

Paul Ford