Infinite Possibilities: A Descriptive of our Age

Chapter 2 – The Year of the Adult Depend Undergarment. [From the book Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.]  The title says it all.  But like most things in life, this (chapter) is really about something other than an adult diaper, Depend.

This, is about the infinite amount of possibilities we are faced with and in these countless possibilities, the inability to make a decision leaving us restlessly anxious about the infinite amount of other, possibilities we didn’t choose.    1218066701_20093a2678_3

It is about the efficacy that has settled on the collective consciousness of our time, like that thin layer of film that settles on the surface of a cup of hot chocolate that has been ignored.  It is this that pervades us from finding satisfaction with the choices we make always believing that a different choice would have been better.

This chapter described a man anxiously waiting the call or arrival of a guest.  His neurotic tendencies making him even more neurotic.  The chapter ends with this:  “…because at this precise time his telephone and his intercom to the front door’s buzzer both sounded at the same time, both loud and tortured and so abrupt they sounded yanked through a very small hole into the great balloon of colored silence he sat in, waiting, and he moved first toward the telephone console, then over toward his intercom module, then convulsively back toward the sounding phone, and then tried somehow to move toward both at once, finally, so that he stood splaylegged, arms wildly out as if something’s been flung, splayed, entombed between the two sounds, without a thought in his head.”

Ah, the infinite possibilities. To answer a phone or and intercom.  Seems almost foolish, but it describes an endless inability to make decisions with conviction.  Sometimes trying to choose two things at once is like not choosing either one.  It’s the sound of infinite possibilities turning into deafening indecision.


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