Friday, August 12, 2011

The Diagnosis

The Diagnosis By Alan Lightman
Weight: 11 oz
Method of Disposal: Giving Away or donating

Creepy picture, yes?

I am on a rare long weekend (short vacation) from work, and it is so delightful, beyond wonderful. I am euphoric. I like the trees more. I notice the sky more. I laugh and smile more. It would be kind of sad if I weren’t so damn happy. I mean, that not being at work makes me feel this fucking good. I am spoiling myself too. I cannot afford it, but I cannot stop myself. This “vacation” (what’s the stupid slang word? Staycation?) being so unusual. I previously had purchased a Groupon for a massage with a friend. We had scheduled it for today. We went, we relaxed, we ate a ton of sushi. Does life get much better?

It is so disheartening and deadening to go into work all the time and do the same things every day, though most Americans do. For years and years and years. We may never be able to retire, depending on our career. As of now, it is not looking so good for my old age. My body is disintegrating with the physical demands, though I am passionate about what I do. My money situation is no good and there is no chance to save for the future. Yes, I realize I should not have put all that money out there today and yesterday, but sometimes mental health needs to take priority. I will sell some things, dog sit, and do some odd jobs in an attempt to make up the difference. I think of a card I have hanging over my computer. “When work feels overwhelming, remember that you’re going to die.”

In that vein, I am getting rid of The Diagnosis by Alan Lightman. It was not one of my favorite books of his, but I did like it. It seems that many people felt the same. The most disappointed reviews I have read were by people hoping for a medical thriller. I was not thinking that at all when I went into it. I just read that a man loses his memory on his train commute to work. All he can think of is the company slogan, “the maximum information in the minimum amount of time.” And I thought, how sad, to do be deadened by the routine. I felt like it was an analogy for many people’s mundane lives. As I read, I vaguely remember thinking that his brain shut down to protect him from his boring, overworked self. The problems really start when his memory comes back, after all.

Oddly enough, the book did not achieve its full potential because, while the character seems like he would be a guy you could relate to or feel something for (no matter what it is), you really do not. The character development is weak. The other problem, for me, is that I had expected something else from Lightman. It is not his fault, but I wanted another Einstein’s Dreams or even a Reunion. If you have any desire to own this book, free of charge, please let me know as soon as possible.

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