How does one measure a life?

Today, Best Beloved, I bring you a Maundering, hands cupped about its frail warmth as I whisper, “look!”–and on what shall we maunder? Why, the meaning of life! Namely, how to determine whether yours has any (a how-to guide).

Even as Prufrock laments “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons,” another group rejoices at the thought of measuring a year, or a lifetime, in cups of coffee. Whence comes this discrepancy? I believe that there is a fundamental difference in philosophy here; where one sees only the lack of great acts performed and women seduced, another may choose to focus on the mundane beauty of all things. I count myself in the second camp, being continually awed by everything around me. Leaves! the fractal randomness of plaster! intricate designs both man-made and otherwise! You have probably noticed them too, having been told by society to go outside to get to school or work or wherever you’re going. I should be very sad to be a shut-in, as there are so many more excellent things outside my house than in it.

This begs the question: how do I measure my life? I see the year as a great wheel, from whose damp autumn side faraway spring can be seen. With this, it seems that I measure life in the most mundane of all ways, by time. Of course, there are landmarks, mostly days spent with my favorite compatriots, full of hilarity and joy, but I also mark my time by illnesses, stress level, weather, performances, &c. So in fact, I measure life by life; it is not after all a thing that can be poured into a graduated cylinder any more than there is a finite amount of it, it being as changeable and fleeting, yet constant, as the stuff of which it is made: electricity.

Yes, Best Beloved, your soul is lightning! being the one thing that, I am convinced, abandons the body at death. I could say that this explains much about human nature, so fickle as it is, but it does not. I only mention it because it is one more mundane thing that excites me terribly, and I hope it does the same for you.

On the gentleman shortage

It came to my attention while I wandered home from the laboratory that when I think of men I call them ‘dudes,’ (uncouth, aren’t I?) and women ‘ladies.’ Why is this? I have always known that I have a high respect for ladies: most of my friends are of the fairer gender. Very few women I have known are not, in my opinion, eligible for the title ‘lady.’

Sadly, this does not seem to be true of the boys. I am sorry to say that I know only no true gnetlemen at all; even my brother does not seem to qualify. But what do I actually mean when I say ladies and gentlemen? In my humble opinion–and how I shall strive not to misuse that phrase, as it is so often ill-treated–a lady does not bully or harass, nor seek her gain to the detriment of others. In fact, the same definition holds for gentlemen, although as Society would have it they must also hold open doors and possibly wrestle slavering bears in the woods. Many slavering bears make better gentlemen than some of my acquaintance, being evener of temper and less apt to injure. But I digress, having neglected to mention that ladies must speak softly, avoid thinking or physical activity at all costs (though I believe table tennis is all right), and maintain a slim figure that pleases others.

I cannot continue, Best Beloved. I was not meant for satire, alas, but rather to tell you honestly that all I want in a lady or a gentleman is consideration of others and the use of this consideration to avoid injury for any and all parties. Why do women possess this in such abundance, while men are sadly lacking? My hypothesis is that Society, that nebulous yet monolithic villain, teaches women to be demure and that kindness, faith, hope, charity, and get-back-in-the-kitchen are the greatest virtues to cultivate. Naturally men must cultivate the virtue of domination and practice it whenever possible.

Do I sound bitter? I am. Have I read too many feminist blogs? Perhaps, if that were a concept I could recognize. My complaint and/or pontification today is the distressing lack of gentlemen in my vicinity. This is another reason I wish to explore the world: maybe somewhere there is a high density of gentlemen and I can settle there some far-off day. I imagine it to be a small mountainside town where the grass is incandescently green and the moon cinematically large. Everyone is everyone’s friend and men, women, and non-binary individuals of learning discuss philosophy, art, and science late at night with bottomless mugs of cocoa in warm yellow rooms with patchwork quilts.

It is a pretty dream, Best Beloved.