1. People who “hate getting old” are idiots. Every year is a privilege. Let me tell you, callow miserabilists: getting to 60 feels like a triumph.
6. When someone starts a sentence “I’m not being…”, they always are.
8. All these memories darting through my mind like discarded fairground goldfish in a sewer. The random kindnesses of strangers, how they glide and shimmer.
17. The scarier the world becomes, the more important it is to focus on the correct use of “less” and “fewer”.
35. There is not a single bad mood that cannot be lifted, however grudgingly, by reading a Larkin poem.
Every night, we couldn’t sleep.
Our upstairs neighbors had to keep
Dropping something down the hall—
A barbell or a bowling ball,
And from the window by the bed,
Echoing inside my head,
Alley cats expended breath
In arias of love and death.
Dawn again, across the street,
Jackhammers began to beat
Like hangovers, and you would frown—
That well-built house, why tear it down?
Noon, the radiator grill
Groaned, gave off a lesser chill
So that we could take off our coats.
The pipes coughed to clear their throats.
Our nerves were frayed like ravelled sleeves,
We cherished each our minor griefs
To keep them warm until the night,
When it was time again to fight;
But we were young, did not need much
To make us laugh instead, and touch,
And could not hear ourselves above
The arias of death and love.
Myopia does not obscure the world, but gradually softens it. In its milder forms, it eradicates sharp lines, rendering the world a hazy, often more-attractive place. Trees dissolve into Dr. Seuss-like clumps of feathery green; pores and wrinkles simply dissolve. As myopia advances, however, boundaries between objects break down, causing discrete monochrome units like fingers to merge into indistinct blocks of color. The world of the myope finds its artistic expression in Impressionism. Without glasses, the Rouen cathedral bears an uncanny resemblance to a painting by Monet.