Et Tu, Brute?


Brutus caved in to the unspoken demand in his soul for idleness. His brain told him, take a look at your schedule. You must do this. You must do that. But his soul called out to him for mercy, and he could not find it within him to do much beyond the simple boiling of tea. Perhaps, he thought, this is some form of depression. A lack of motivation, a juvenile internal form of rebellion against the adult demands of the external world. Just let it all go. Let it all slide by. What did it matter?

Brutus required a consistent stream of friends to force him out the door. Otherwise, he would forget who he was, and he couldn’t fathom how he could face the world without any deep set conviction. If someone were to challenge him out there, on the street, how could he muster the passion to reply?

Obviously, he had somehow managed to pull himself together enough to craft the illusion of some kind of put together adult life. He was a fairly successful manager at a bank located so close to his apartment that he could walk there in 20 minutes, and he did, every single morning stopping at the cafe on the corner for his chai. He went out with a loose affiliation of friends from business school and his workplace every weekend. Sometimes they would go out to a club and dance; usually, they took a booth at their favorite bar, Muskee’s, and drank one too many martinis while trying–largely unsuccessfully–to hit on women. He would wake up on Saturday mornings hung over, beset with an inexplicable feeling of guilt and impending doom, which he could only shed after going to the gym and eating breakfast at a diner, where he would sit drinking coffee and reading The Economist until he felt ready for the oncoming week again.

But this weekend had been different. Brutus excused himself from the Friday night outing, on the somewhat legitimate claim that he had extra work he needed to finish over the weekend. But he hadn’t touched the work. He had sat listlessly in his apartment, so idle that he couldn’t even bring himself to put on a CD to break the silence. He sat there in his boxers, drinking his tea and staring at the floor.

So he elected to give in to it. He allowed it to overtake him. He sat there in the darkened gloom of the impending evening without turning on the light. The extra work could plausibly be extended into the week; it didn’t have to be finished this weekend. This felt like a throwback to his undergraduate days, when he would skip class and waste the day playing video games or drinking beer, doing absolutely nothing in some kind of child-like defiance to the demands of the inhumane strictures of the civilized world. It could also have been called laziness, but it was more than that. Something inarticulate and hidden. Something so unlikely to find its way into expression that it fizzled out instead into impotent idleness.

Was this his natural proclivity, perhaps? To drift purposelessly in some limbo of spirit? And the illusion of his daily life was only some type of caving in to the pressure of normalcy? Too many questions. It was better simply to sit, thinking nothing.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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