November 10: micropleasures and microvexations

It is astonishing the way in which tiny moments in the day can combine to provide the big feeling that you retain when you put your head on the pillow at midnight. This thought struck me as I sipped my morning coffee the other day and realized that the moment when I arrive at work, having left home with no breakfast, the moment I pour a coffee and sit down to scan the papers, the moment I put the coffee to my lips, is (it’s official) my favourite moment of the day. It is a moment with myself; a moment without anything very human about it, purely animal. It’s the best moment of the day. Once I get to the second sip it is gradually getting less good. By the time I finish the coffee the rest of the day is starting to wash up over me, its imminence contaminating me.
The microvexations of the day are mainly cerebral, irritations at modernity. The moment I switch my computer on and Windows trumpets its pompous proclamation of life-giving power and hegemony in its fanfare to the corporate man. Even my mobile phone has one of these banal jingles of false hope, a particularly disagreable one, sounding like the intro to a 90s TV Breakfast show, all cornflakes and light. These are vexations you can’t avoid, unpleasant punctuation marks on the long daily paragraph. The key to happiness would be to create some better punctuation. Look after the micro and the macro will follow.

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