What a dumb life I love living
collating some beautiful lines... got some?
I collect great lines that make me smile with recognition (at the perfect capture) and appreciation (at the artfulness). I was listening to poet and philosopher Bayo Akomolafe talking on a podcast last night and when asked what spirituality was for him, he replied, “a good sentence”. I know this flavour of spiritual.
I just came across a great line. And I’d love to get yours below, the kind that make you smile, maybe even cry with the awe-some connection it brings.
I was in Athens a week ago with two hours to kill as I waited for my friends Jeanine and Chris and their 4 year-old-boy to arrive on a late flight. Lying on a rib-poking mattress I’d dragged onto the floor of the apartment we’d rented I downloaded the dating app I sometimes turn on in foreign countries to, well, see. See if I can connect. See how men define themselves in different countries and cultures (so much to say on this…perhaps another post?)
I connected with D~. (D~ is not on social media and preserves his privacy deeply, so I’m hiding his name.) It said he was “new”, a screenwriter, younger. In his bio he’d written “I’m probably taller than you”.
After two wisecrackeries each, back and forth, I ask if he’d like to meet me for a drink on the Anofiotika steps that go up toward the Acropolis. I had sat there on a little cushion and ordered an ouzo that came with peanuts when I was 18. D~ replied, “See you there in 15 minutes”.
Why not, hey?
I liked D~ and we talked for an hour about sarcasm and politics and various lonelinesses. We then both had to rush off. The next night he messaged me from the beach about 45 minutes from Athens where he’d gone to check out an apartment to rent. He’d decided to stay on the beach, late into the night and work on his laptop on a beach lounge by the light of the streetlamps. He swum naked and a stranger gave him molly. “What a dumb life I love living,” he wrote to me. D~ is not a recreational drug user (nor am I) and I knew enough about him to know this was an expressive, irregular moment. And dumb. Dumb in the sense it veers from the morays and expectations and sensible ideas that say you should go to bed and drink water when it’s a work day tomorrow. Dumb in the sense that some things need to be dumb. Do what you’re not doing. Sleep at the other end of the bed. Wake up. Get fresh eyes.
“What a dumb life I love living.”
The line made me smile – the inverted perfection of the jumble of words. But also the freedom and melancholy it evokes. Love even the dumb stuff we do. Love especially the dumb stuff we do. Because it’s our dumb stuff that really is the expression of the intimate particulars of who we need to be.
Its good to collect lines like this. And people like D~.
We decided our story was not done and we made complicated (dumb!) plans to meet halfway between the two of us - on an island - for 36 hours. It could go pear-shaped. But at least we will have been the kind of dumb we need to be.
Please supply me with some great lines you’ve collected. With your various permissions I’d run them as a list in my next book. A young guy I met in a cafe in Sifnos (when I apologised for speaking loudly to my brother on the phone) and who invited himself on a hike with me has a nice one on his IG bio: “Cooler than the other side of your pillow”. I’ve heard Richie Benaud say this in cricket commentary. But this young Greek guy subbed out “the pillow” with “your pillow” which is nice.
Have you heard of “Luxury beliefs”?
This week’s Wild interview is with moral philosopher Rob Henderson who coined the term “luxury beliefs. It goes like this: The wealthy elite once signalled their status with expensive handbags and super yachts. Now they do it with so-called politically correct pronouncements that, in reality, only the rich can afford to live by and which they then use to differentiate themselves from the rest of us. We’re talking about such wokenesses as “defund the police” and calls for drug legalisation, death to marriage and putting “polyamorous” on your dating profile. Of course, defunding the police is all very well if you can afford to live in a gated community with low crime and security guards.
It should be said, Rob grew up poor, a foster kid who was doing drugs at the age of 9 and who had to learn to decode elite signalling as an outsider once he hit the liberal US university scene. This is a super juicy and confronting thesis, evidence of which I can’t stop noticing everywhere and I loved the way Rob applies the wild idea to online dating, cancel culture and conservative politics. Enjoy. Share. Rate my pod if you have a moment! With 5 Big Ones preferably!