Monday, February 09, 2009

Read this extraordinary paragraph, appropriately enough, on the train into work today:

"It was now full winter, and barbarous how raw; so going around the city on the spidery cars, rides lasting hours, made you stupid as a stoveside cat because of the closeness inside; and htere was something fuddling besides in the mass piled up of uniform things, the likeness of small parts, the type of newspaper columns and the bricks of buildings. To sit and be trundled, why you see: there's a danger in that of being a bobbin for an endless thread or bolt for yard goods; if there's not much purpose anyway in the ride. And if there's some amount of sun in the dusty weep marks of the window, it can be even worse for the brain than those iron-deep clouds just plain brutal and not mitigated. There haven't been civilizations without cities. But what about cities without civilizations? An inhuman thing, if possible, to have so many people together who beget nothing on one another. No but it is not possible, and the dreary begets its own fire, and so this never happens."

- The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

(For comparison, try this great article about commuting from the New Yorker.)