Tonight I told Rabbi Rabbs, “I wish I was married so my wife could take care of these things like finding an apartment. I’m not good at real life. I’m not practical. I’m theoretical, perhaps even artistic. I’m a luftmenche. I live off air.”
I just realized why I find looking for an apartment so painful. It reminds me of my position in life. When I have a place, I can lose myself in the fantasy that I am a great man. But when I’m trudging around the duskier parts of town looking for a place to stay with people who don’t speak English, it’s harder to believe I’m a great man.
Chaim emails: “You know, this housing situation could be just what you need. Living amongst the Jews, you are a low status bachelor who sticks out like a sore thumb among all the married doctors and lawyers. But if you move to a duskier neighborhood, you will be that white cat who is available to all the ladies.”
Greg Leake emails: You know, I think it was in one of Shakespeare’s plays (Hamlet?) when someone said something like, “I could be bounded in a nutshell and call myself the king of infinite space.”
It seems to me that it you can move into a small and somewhat innocuous space and suddenly feel that you are a great man, then I think you are to be envied rather than ridiculed. For most of us the requirements for feeling “great” are much more strenuous. I have managed to accomplish a few things in a couple of different areas, and I by no means feel that I am a “great man”.
My suggestion would be to try to figure out how to give the rest of us lessons on how to feel great simply because we’ve managed to rent an extremely modest apartment. My G-d, how illuminating it all might be! It would take a lot to diminish our greatness if all we had to do was maintain something like the hovel.
You are a very fortunate man, Luke. You are way ahead of the rest of us, because you have discovered that the secret to greatness lies more in the indifference to success rather than the accomplishment of it. I take my hat off to you. You are great in a way that I can never be.