|—||That was an unexpected parenthetical.|
Research is faster and easier, requiring fewer lawyers, and is being outsourced to less expensive locales, including West Virginia and overseas.
Brings this to mind:
Reading Narcopolis. Addiction literature looks different from this side of the bar.
Only the rich can afford surprise and/or meaning. The rich crave meaning. The first thing they ask when faced with eternity, and in fact the last thing, is: excuse me, what does this mean? The poor don’t ask questions, or they don’t ask irrelevant questions. They can’t afford to. All they can afford is laughter and ghosts. Then there are the addicts, the hunger addicts and rage addicts and poverty addicts and power addicts, and the pure addicts who are addicted not to substances but to the oblivion and tenderness that substances engender. An addict, if you don’t mind me saying so, is like a saint. What is a saint but someone who has cut himself off, voluntarily, voluntarily, from the world’s traffic and currency? The saint talks to flowers, a daffodil, say, and he sees the yellow of it. He receives its scent through his eyes. Yes, he thinks, you are my muse, I take heart from your stubbornness, a drop of water, a dab of sunshine, and there you are with your gorgeous blooms. He enjoys flowers but he worships trees. He wants to be the banyan’s slave. He wants to think of time the way a tree does, a decade as nothing more than some slight addition to his girth. He connives with birds, and gets his news form the sound the wind makes in the leaves. When he’s hungry he stands in the forest waiting for the fall of a mango. His ambition is the opposite of ambition. Most of all, like all addicts, he wants to obliterate time. He wants to die, or, at the very least, not to live.
Sherry, variations on a theme.
|—||Haters. I don’t really know anything about Spain, but come by the bar for some baller sherry if you’re curious. It’s really good.|
Our job, we were told at frequent intervals, is about making people happy. An unremarkable and not particularly unique aspect of the business we have chosen, but it’s a useful reminder. Being away from everything for a week probably helps it stick.
There was a panel, “Bringing Service Back”, that was not much more than five people telling everyone for an hour and a half that the key to success is “don’t be a jerk”, and I don’t know what it says about me that this was the most important insight I took away from a five-day conference, but they’re not wrong. It’s not even service, really; that’s a technical skill (promptly refilling your water glass, refolding your napkin before you return from the restroom) which, not unlike making a decent drink, is not particularly difficult to learn and is ultimately tangential to the overall experience.
Hospitality is closer to what we’re really talking about, a sort of formal warmth and stylized intimacy that I imagine is not unlike throwing a large dinner party at Downton Abbey (fewer cravats, though.) It’s easy about 3/4 of the time. That last bit is the trick.
All of which is to say that the half hour we spent in an empty bar at 1 in the afternoon on a Sunday with a bartender who spent most of the time sitting on a stool smoking a cigarette telling us about the weird party she went to that weekend was probably the best time I had the whole trip. So who even knows.
Apparently you can just buy Samoas any time you want?! Did people already know this? My life is now changed.
“Oh crap, we wrote a whole article about working mothers and only talked about rich people, this won’t look good.”
“No it’s cool, we can just awkwardly mention waitresses or whoever 13 paragraphs in, and then never address the issue again.”