Day 20: Eavesdropping

HaydnCD20Sometimes, being at Panera in the morning is a lesson in trying – hard! – to mind ones own business.

Like this morning for example. There’s a man and a younger woman (a dad and his daughter, I quickly discovered) sitting in the booth behind me who are deep in conversation of a serious nature. “The irony is,” the man just said, “that’s not who I am…wearing the right suit, saying the right thing at the board meeting…”

I don’t know who he tried to be, or what he wants to be. But it’s clear he’s not being what he thinks he is.

I’ve found that to be true with most people these days.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation,” Thoreau wrote in Walden (1854). (Note that he did not write: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation…” That’s a misquote, according to the Thoreau web site. Plus, the quote did not come from Civil Disobedience and Other Essays. That is another mis-attribution. Oh, the things I learn…)

Whatever the exact quote, or its precise source, I think not being what one is is one of the great tragedies of human existence. I wonder if Haydn ever thought to himself, Continue reading