September 17: your system will always be punctured

I remember I used to go to a cafe at Worlds End in Chelsea on Saturday mornings. My friend Andrew always ordered this particular type of sandwich that only they did only for him. Each time he came in the cafe he exchanged a nod with the lady at the counter and the sandwich was made up for him with all his favourite ingredients in it. What a sandwich! he said one day. It keeps me going the whole day. There’s just one thing. They will insist in putting raisins in it and I don’t like raisins. Why don’t you tell them? I said. It wouldn’t be nice, he said. It’s almost perfect. Why create a problem?

Anyway, this routine of the sandwich continued for many months. Until one day for some reason we were called upon to exchange a few words with the lady at the counter. When you make that little sign I know exactly what you want, she said. That’s right, said Andrew, After all, it’s so rare to get a relationship work so neatly and so nicely as this one. The perfect triangulation betwwen two people and a product. Yes, said the lady, turning to her co-worker. He wants some raisins put in. It makes all the difference, doesn’t it? We nodded and smiled back. Somehow the magic had gone.

There is something emblematic in this story. We set things up just right, but something, some confusion or misapprehension, will always come and puncture your perfect system.

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