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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

economics of play

More than eighty feet underground on metro line 11, I’m heading east to a party on Rue des Rigoles – no jokes – and appropriately, I feel festive. Festive even if I have no reason to. The ground beneath my feet, just under the rails, is a morass, economic, geopolitical, blah-blah-blah. "The US alone is losing 30,000 jobs a day", Le Monde affirmed in italics this morning.

But now – a new Casio on my wrist and the Doobie Brothers in my ears – I laugh at these jobs, every one of them – so many per hour – because these are not jobs I want. Lui will not move to Detroit to handle car-parts and drink coffee out of a thermos... will not move to Florida to sell real-estate to old ladies with white sneakers... will not move to Arizona to mow lawns that shouldn't be there...

...the quartz on my wrist reads 23-hundred. I feel sharp when I hit the hour on the head like that, right when the bleep bleeps.

Still eighty feet underground, I think of other stints more to my taste, and in keeping with my sense of things and place in this universe, a zillion-zillion feet wide, as many high and deep, and as unknown as the territories of the human mind.

SO NOW – in no special order and off the bat, eighty feet down, near station Goncourt – I WOULD:
  • dismantle oil tankers with marauding monks from the East: Bangladeshi, Thai and the like.
  • clean up debris from satellites and other space-contraptions – a lonely but adventurous task... with perks: Russian cappuccinos on space station Mir.
  • cook Balkan for the infirm but ultra-rich, bringing Croatian cuisine to Tokyo.
  • pick berries in Jutland with types like Eve - sprightly and elfish - the Czech girl I met on the bus the other day (but I would pick any number of produce with her, zucchinis, leek, rhubarb, you name it, any type)...

Still eighty feet underground, station Belleville at hand, a dark-skinned man with an accordion and a set of uneven teeth sings a song about a lost land south of the Carpathians where women are aplenty, laughs are aplenty, the sun is bountiful and where – I deduce from his smile and the riddle of notes spiralling up from his instrument – there is no downturn, no boom-and-bust, only and ever the economics of play.