Catherine’s Pillow Book

I decided to keep a pillow book based off my thoughts before bed.  I’d been reading The Pillow Book of Sei Shônagon, and wanted to keep one of my own.

1.Things that Smother

The occultation.  It’s what happens to me when I’m with David.  It’s an event that occurs when one object is hidden by the passage of another between it and the observer, in the way the moon eclipses the sun.  It’s an astronomical eclipse, the covering of one’s light.  The occultation is also the name given to the Twelfth Imam, whose edicts justified the religiously mandated hijab.

2. The Existent Moment

The “existent moment.”  That’s what Kafka wrote about, his characters search and their ability to obtain it, an escape from the monotonous void of their already dead life. I always thought it was supposed to be something sublime, this “existent moment,” though Gregor makes me think otherwise.  I read about Gregor twice.  Once in high school and again in college.  The German version added more gruesome details, like the filth and the fleas.  I figured the Victorians probably cleaned up the English version in the same way they sterilized the Grimms’ Fairy Tales and sex.   Anyway, maybe for Bacon and Omelette, their transformation into beetles might offer them a chance of finally reaching an “existent moment.”  Instead of Gregor’s dad throwing rotten apples him, the frat brothers could throw smashed beer cans at then.  Those idiots do it to girls all the time.

3.  Annoying Things

  1. Fat, lazy, orange hamsters, like the two my sister owns.  She calls them the Brunos and they bite whoever or whatever reaches in their cage, before even opening their eyes, and neither release their grip until they’ve drawn blood.

  2. Nathan’s secretary, who writes, “your welcome” instead of “you’re welcome.”

  3. People who yell, “Where you at?!?” into cellphones.

  4. People at home who drive giant pickup trucks and cross over three lanes of traffic, almost sideswiping others in the process, so as not to miss the closest “Nothin’ But Smokes.

  5. Paying money to look at nature and the people who try to sell it.  I mean, really, why should I pay five dollars to go look down a hole?  E.g. The Royal Gorge, Grand Canyon.

  6. Mimes, Clowns and a capella singers.  All are too happy, and overly excited.  That’s why Steven King writes stories like “It.”

  7. Men who lie about their age, job, past, desires.

  8. Warm white wine.


4. Theaeterus Theorem

Descartes believed that unlike perceptions, dreams are associated with beliefs, and these beliefs in our dreams exist without a reality check. I don’t think he’s right.  I had a dream after meeting Antonio.  In the dream, he swept me away from the cold of the East, and I flew with him across the continent, over oceans, back to Argentina. Much like Daedulus, he fashioned wings made of wax from the candle that sits near his bed.  I could smell vanilla as we flew together.  While I could feel the temperature changing from the icy cold into a pressing heat, unlike the wings of Icarus, mine never melted.  I think it was because Antonio escaped with me, each of us flying, together, side by side.  Perhaps it was the wind chill caused by the other’s wings that kept the wax from melting.  Anyway, while our wax-made wings might lay conceptually unchecked, I’ve planned to run away with Antonio now at the end of this semester.  The decision came months after my dream.  It’s not so much that I want to leave Nathan behind, it’s just that I’d rather stay with Antonio.  We’re going to Madrid in January, then to his family’s ranch outside of Buenos Aieres, flying all the way on Iberia.  The plane has large white wings, and we’re traveling through the clouds, escaping the cold, and the emptiness that’s developed in this place.  Descartes maybe felt different about these things when he was my age.  He was an old guy, probably just disappointed by life, when he thought up the Theaeterus Theorem.  I mean, Descartes died of pneumonia shortly after writing it, because he’d been spending his nights thinking up new ideas and his days tutoring a Sweedish heiress.  I’d probably be a pessimist too if I was Descartes, an old man, making my living tutoring some rich guy’s daughter.  By that point, I’m sure most of his dreams seemed unattainable, too.

5.  Things that Confuse Me

  1. People who are nice to people they don’t like.  Why bother?  I’m not saying you have to be rude or mean, it’s just that chances are they don’t like you either.

  2. People who worship the sun.

  3. The importance of an old pot shard.

  4. Why German has more exceptions than rules

6. Squalid Things

  1. The floor of a Krispy Kreme at the end of the day.

  2. Squid that have been cooked, but not cleaned – the way they serve them along the Andalusian Coast.

  3. The dark corners of subway stations, where the rats run to disappear.

  4. What a brain must look like at the end of Alzehiemers Disease, or a lung after years of smoking.

7. Breast Feeding

With all the naked breasts being flashed gratuitously around television, I find it hard to understand why their image is suddenly considered perverse when they’re no longer serving a male aesthetic.  Shouldn’t using the breast for its intended biological purpose, feeding babies, be equally allowable, if not more accepted in society than all the décolletage we see bouncing around day to day, and flashed on Jerry Springer?  It seems to me a mother should cover her son’s face not when a woman is breast feeding her child in public, but rather when a woman performs strip tease on television, where you have a man instead of a baby sucking from her chest.