I moved to San Francisco recently. This fact has invited a series of similar exhortations from nearly every person I meet: explore this neighborhood! discover these cuisines! visit these photo spots! take advantage of the variety of experiences available to you! and so on. Their suggestions are well-intentioned, but somehow I’ve never felt any desire to follow them. I write this as I eat the same Chipotle burrito that has been my weekly staple for the last six years, in the same chair behind the same computer on the same desk in a different room in a different city.
Reading is a dangerous hobby. Each story begins with boundless hope and leaves only the intoxicating wisps of a thousand beautiful, impossible visions. Reality begins to look like a pile of desiccated crumbs and lint beside the saturated perfection of a hypertrophic imagination. And in spite of this progressive desensitization to the real world I keep going back, keep seeking new stories, because I don’t want to check out trendy brunch spots or watch viral tiktoks or, may each and every God forbid, have to open LinkedIn again. I want to travel at relativistic speeds. I want to ride the sandworms like my ancestors before me. Until I was around twelve I genuinely believed that I was gonna catch em all.
The axis from consumption to creation has always seemed important to me. Some people, I used to think, were innately oriented towards producing new and different ideas, art, beliefs, stories, etc. Others lacked the natural urge to create, and were content with experiencing whatever already exists. These days I believe a hidden factor places people along that axis: whether their childhood was tainted by fantastic dreams.
On almost-winter days like today when the afternoon sun meanders into the southern reaches of the sky the rays sparkle off the used cars in the shabby lot across the street and for a brief, brief moment before I close the shades and start coding again I see the glittering desert sands and the careless luster of the galaxy and the iridescence of pure crystalline silicon. Sometimes our lives seem even flatter than those on paper.