Deep Thoughts

The Case for Loafers

September 09, 2017

So I can quite see the point that Logan Pearsall Smith’s friend was making. Nor, alas, is this all there is to it.

As soon as I wake fully from my oneiric state, I think of all the responsibilities (other than showering and dressing) that face me. I have my value-added tax return to fill in, the plates to remove from the washing-up machine, the shutters to open, the rubbish bin to empty, an invitation to answer: How incredibly boring! And it will be more or less the same every day, possibly worse. Then, to top it all, there is an electricity cut. This is enough to sap anyone’s will to live.

This is why middle-class people in India are so much better off than even very rich people in the West: They have others to do for them what no one really wants to do for himself. What the servants think of it all, I do not know. Do they ask themselves resentfully, “Why can’t he get a glass of water for himself rather than telling me to get it?” or do they just accept it as part of the natural order of things that some give orders and some carry them out, and are grateful that they will at least have enough to eat?

My love of the oneiric, then, is really just an avoidance mechanism, as no doubt is most entertainment by screen. If I weren’t dreaming, I’d be doing up my shoelaces, or some such thing. I prefer to dream, even if it is completely pointless to do so and brings me no advantage except temporary relief from the banality of what is to follow.

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