My work-in-the-coffee-shop afternoon. I think wistfully of what a coffee shop would have been before laptop computers and wireless internet. Somehow, people buried in books seem less isolated than people lost in cyber-communications.

Gray skies and intermittent rainstorms. Outside the window, one of my former students passes. Outside the window, cigarette butts grow soggy in ash trays. Outside the window is a small space kept dry by the eaves.

Inside, I am cold, but dry. I’ve covered part of the air-conditioning vent with my bag. Air blows all the more from the other half, making the window glass on that side nearly opaque with condensation. My side of the glass is clear.

I write a paragraph about a variety of person whose steadfast goodness appears madness in the face of what other people know about the real world. Is it madness, really? Or does it simply signify citizenship in a world more real than this? An assurance that all expenditures and sacrifices here must be more than met there?

And if such things are true, why are we so hesitant to appear mad in the here and now?

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