Another year – pipe wrench

FRIDAY, 31 DECEMBER 2004

Notes to round off another year

Observe yourself – collect data – confront what you have been given – define who you want to be, where, with whom, what role you want to play, and what results you want to leave behind of your existence.

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Make a contribution to the process that will allow other people to lead happy, productive, fulfilling lives, and to strive for good results.

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How much of what we do is really choice, and to what degree are we compelled by forces within us that we cannot wrap up neatly with phrases like “free will”?

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Thought of last night on the way to the Carrefour: Writing has, in the end, outmanoeuvred, outsmarted, outgunned, and outlasted every other possibility of what I had ever wanted to do with my adult life.

Pipe wrench in one hand, pen in the other, I remind myself that if one insists that an old apartment in a working class neighbourhood helps to define who you are and want to be, one should not complain too much if your pipes are getting clogged up, or if they start to crumble.

Since we are on this subject, and since I am planning on making this note the last of the current literary project, what else other than residence defines who you are, or want to be?

I would say the music you listen to; how you earn money; what you do – can I put down the pipe wrench? – what you do when you are not busy earning money; clothing, and any accessories you choose to wear; whether or not you have a car, and if you do, what type of car; if you do not have a car, how you move around if your destination is too far to reach by foot; people you socialize with; how often you socialize, where, and what you do at such times (drinking, dancing, fishing, bowling or other possibilities); what you eat and what you don’t eat (pizza, beer and doughnuts every day will say something of who you are and want to be – or who you don’t care to be; a vegetarian lifestyle will say something different); how well you manage to meet your own needs, especially when you compare it to the standards of the community in whose midst you find yourself on a daily basis (for example, eating maize porridge three times a day when all your neighbours are accustomed to three balanced meals per day will besides the health repercussions also have certain implications for your self-perception); if you are so fortunate to be able to go on vacation, where you go, for how long, with whom, and what you do while you are on vacation; your active interests (ties in with what you do when you are not busy making money); whether you smoke or use other tobacco products, and if so, what kind of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, pipe) and even which brand; whether you use drugs and if so, what kinds of drugs, where, with whom, how often, and in what quantities; in which town, city or country you live in, how long you have lived there, and how often you move (if at all); (and eventually, after thirteen other items), whether or not you are married, and if so, who your spouse is (and even to some extent, how your partner’s responses to this list compare to your own); whether you have children or not; if you are unmarried, whether or not you are currently in an intimate relationship; if not, for how long you have been single; if you are involved with someone, how long you’ve been involved with this person, and even how often you have been in similar relationships during your adult life; whether or not you steal or make yourself guilty of other criminal activities; if you do, what kind of criminal activities and how often; whether or not you ever get involved in physical altercations; if you do, with whom, for what reasons, how often, and where; whether you provide assistance to others who need help; if you do, to whom you provide assistance, how often, and what percentage of your time and money is taken up by this assistance; if you spend neither time nor money to provide assistance to your fellow human beings, what reasons would you give for this; (to be continued …)

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