The carpet at the Intercontinental looks like some lesser Mondrian: squares, rectangles, boring euclidean parallels. It’s out of place here, in San Francisco, a city where every corner marks the junction of an odd number of streets. Mathematically speaking, these intersections seem highly improbable, and are therefore more likely a psychic phenomenon. Pacing the carpet and working math equations is making me hungry. Why do we have to eat so often? We have space elevators and french kissing. Surely society so advanced can break the mortal shackles of nutrition. Why isn’t there food that keeps us full for days? Jet pilots pop pills to stay awake for weeks. I heard that snipers take pills that let them piss and shit through their skin. That last one might be a myth. My hitchhiker told me about it as we were driving through New Mexico on the lookout for alien aircraft.
Back in San Francisco the Mondrian carpet is populated by creepy men in creepy business suits. Interminable suits. I lose track. I think about a lioness stalking zebra on the savanna. How the stripes of the herd coalesce so no single creature is dissociable from the collective. It’s like that but with charcoal and navy and herringboners. The Mondrian is a geometric grassland.
The question now, at 8am is whether there is enough coffee in the world to sustainably fuel my ongoing stream of thought vomit, the mental math and the hunt. A man walks by and tells me I’m very perky this morning. Caffeine is coursing through me so hard I almost thought vomit my soy latte onto the Mondrian and the man’s loafers at the prospect of this small human interaction. I’ve already had a lot of coffee, I tell him. In that case, he says, you’re very percolated! I like this guy. His voice cracks even though he’s easily 40. Apparently, I’m easily enchanted.
If there is enough coffee, will there be enough words? The other day I invented “angstious”. But the Intercontinental suits take the coinage cake. By 8am I have learned “scalability” and “pipelining”. I’ve been introduced to a “solution architect”. I read about “multitenancy” but I’m pretty sure even the suits don’t know what that one is; it’s a word they made up for Intercontinental Intramural Mondrian Scrabble. I skim an article about “human capital procurement”. I think this is a thinly-veiled code for sex slavery. I wonder if the secret ripped-up message I found in my ice cream sandwich the other day was involved in human trafficking.
The man who told me I was percolated comes out of a meeting and pokes me on the shoulder with an underripe banana. The world insists on interacting with me, in no subtle terms. I am left speechless and in awe. Each time I push at life, it pushes right back. It’s surging up from this awful carpet, it’s hitting me between the shoulders. So now I’m smiling at every damn person and they are poking me with bananas in a perfect tit-for-tat. If I quit now then the world may drop its nonstop weirdness campaign to charm my socks off. Can’t risk it. On on, Mondrian.