Outside: sweltering. Inside can be a respite, but it feels like everyone is on edge, waiting and wanting to snap. Everyone feels in charge and surrounded by incompetents. It is a peculiar but not unfamiliar form of aggravation.

I am not immune from egoism. My best moments recently have been away. Once, in the city on a day continually threatening rain. My goals were conflicted but I was at ease. Wanted to see the familiar sights. Walked by Independence Hall, Carpenter’s Hall. Wanted to find essentials among used books. Picked up a $3 copy of selected Auden poems. Looked for a coffee shop to sit and read. The first and second I saw, full. 4-5 blocks later, found.

I didn’t measure that day by productivity. I still read a few poems, wrote some notes, read some political philosophy, talked to a few people. I left the shop only because I didn’t want to fall asleep there. Things were too comfortable. But there have been moments like that at other bookstores, other cafés, other homes, other offices, other places.

None of this is to say I take the familiar for granted. Far from it. What I want is to bring that relaxation to the familiar. It’s more possible than I think. I’m feeling like I ought to feel right now, at home.

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