Hello and good morning. You should know that it’s Thursday if I use some variant of that greeting. I got started in that habit early in the course of writing my (then only Thursdays) blog, and got myself locked into the pattern mentally. Now it would make me very tense and stressed if I were to write a Thursday blog post without that opening. Likewise with the title being a slightly altered quote from Shakespeare.
I’m writing this on my laptop for the first time this week, because I decided to bring it back from the office yesterday. It was our first decent business day this week, but I still felt thoroughly rotten, in the sense of being tired and in pain. I’d been lying awake in “bed” during the night, looking at the clock, deciding when just to give up and get up. I had seen the time getting to about 3:50 and started thinking about the various three digit numbers coming up.
I knew none of the even numbers were prime, and I knew 351 wasn’t prime, since the sum of its digits is a multiple of three*. But 353 looked like it might be prime, so I started checking it in my head. Obviously it wasn’t divisible by any even number, nor by 3, nor by any multiple of 5, so I started trying from 7, then 11, then 13, then 17, then 19, then 23, then 29…by that time I was getting suspicious. The next prime was 31, and I tried that in my head, but it wasn’t divisible, because after you divide the first two digits by 31, you’re left with 43 remainder, which is clearly not going to be evenly divisible, so I stopped there with that. And the next prime number was bigger than 35 (it’s 37), which started making it look like 353 might be prime.
I cheated then, turned to my computer and checked with Google if 353 was prime**, and it said it was. That was good enough for me. I decided to get up at 3:53, which by that point was about a minute and a half away.
Thus, I got on the first train, and luckily, there were no “trespasser strikes” or any other kind of delays, and my train arrived and left at the scheduled time. I definitely am not going to kill myself by jumping in front of a commuter train (or probably any other train). I don’t like hypocrisy, and to be worn out by delays only to cause them oneself would be petty and spiteful in a way that I would prefer not to be in my swansong. I need to do something less intrusive.
That’s all unless, of course, I give up on trying to be polite and just act on some impulse that comes at the right time in the right place, and fuck all the humans if it causes them problems.
I’m sitting in a different seat on the train than I usually use, because I didn’t feel up to climbing to the top level. I worry that I’m sitting in someone else’s usual seat, but it’s very non-crowded on the midway level of this train car, so I don’t think I’m causing anyone inconvenience.
It’s probably bothering me more than it would bother anyone else that I’m not in my usual seat, but I just didn’t feel like taking 8 more stairs up. If it had been a prime number of steps, maybe I would have done it. Probably not. I only just now counted the stairs to see, but I hadn’t counted them before deciding I didn’t want to climb them.
It was eighty degrees out and quite muggy when I left the house this morning before five o’clock. Don’t envy it. It’s not as though people are going to the beaches or sitting out in the sun and sipping cocktails, or enjoying any other aspects of warm weather. Everyone is scratching out their livings, going through their daily routines in a grimy, overcrowded urban environment. One of the only visible effects of the warmth is that you’ll see people wearing things like basketball shorts to work—grownups who are not professional athletes wearing baggy, gaudily colored shorts in places of business. How is one to take any of them seriously?
At least the people who run the Tri-rail trains all wear uniforms of one kind or another. They are quite professional and serious—and pleasant and friendly to passengers***—and they do their jobs well and with enthusiasm. There’s even a conductor who sometimes works in the evening on the train I catch leaving work who, as we approach my station (which is Hollywood) makes the announcement, “Now approaching Hollywood…Hollywood, California, now approaching Hollywood.”
I like this because it’s similar to my own usual thoughts when we approach the station, which is to recite the words of the man on the street in the beginning of the movie Pretty Woman, who calls out to no one in particular, “Welcome to Hollywood! What’s your dream?” and so on. That’s a moment or two before we see a young Hank Azaria in a bit part as a detective, investigating the murder of a prostitute, astonished that tourists are taking pictures of the crime scene. It’s an unusually dark beginning to a classic romantic comedy.
Real romance rarely begins so darkly, though it often ends unpleasantly. It does always end, eventually, even for those who stay together for the rest of their lives, because life is no more than 120 years (at the extreme maximum) for humans, and usually quite a bit less than that.
Sorry. That’s dreary, even for me. I’ll try to turn it around by taking a line from the…I think fifth series of modern Doctor Who, in which the Doctor describes a species of mayfly on some planet I can’t remember, saying that they live only twenty minutes, and they don’t even mate for life!
Time is relative in many senses. I’ve had more than one day this week that seemed to last far longer than twenty-four hours. The faster you think, the slower time will seem to pass for you, so it may be worth practicing that, if that appeals to you. Users of psychedelics sometimes report their trips seeming to last for eons, and meditation and similar states can sometimes produce similar experiences. We all know that dreams can give that impression.
So, as Tyrell says to Roy, “Revel in your time,” even if all those moments will be eventually be lost like tears in the rain.
*It’s actually also a multiple of 9, since its digits add to 9, but it’s 9 times 39 (9×40=360, take away a nine and you get 351), and 39 is 3 x 13, so we know that 351 is also 27×13. The prime factors of 351 are 3x3x3x13.
**I do this sort of thing often enough that when I start typing, by the time I get to “Is 353…”, Google pops up the option (and the answer) for the question “Is 353 a prime number?”
***This is lost on me, I’m afraid, though I admire it. When the driver waves out of his window toward passengers as he pulls in, I’ve never had the impression that he was waving at me until this morning when, for the first time, I thought it seemed like he might have turned a final wave in my direction after more obvious ones to other regulars—I always stand at the far end of the platform. I just felt a bit frozen and stressed, like someone who’d been called on in class but hadn’t been paying attention to the lesson. I tried not to look toward the window, but just kept kind of looking down-ish and toward my entrance to the train, and I felt like a fool.