If you like to hike or climb or surf or fish, you may know the high-end outdoor-clothing company Patagonia. Then again, you might also know Patagonia if you’ve ever visited Manhattan during winter, when affluent “Patagucci” devotees line the city streets, wrapped in the brand’s trendy, pricey, puffy down jackets.
“There are some of us who never had a choice,” Andy Abramowitz writes in his soul-searching first novel, “Thank You, Goodnight.” “If we can make music, we make it and there’s no hope of turning off the spigot. And if we can’t, we listen and obsess.”
We’ve all been there. Clear morning, quiet terminal. You’re a little early to your gate, and you’re watching the ground crew do their thing. Rationally, you know this works. It always works. But somewhere deep inside, there’s that small, primal part of you. It sees those tiny people working on that giant, manmade, metal bird. “There’s no way in hell,” it whispers, “something that big gets off the ground.” And yet every day, around the world, thousands do.
James Ward is the co-founder of the annual Boring Conference, a “one-day celebration of the mundane, the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked.” He marked the end of last year with a blog post titled “Photos of Things I Held In My Left Hand in 2014.” A hoarder of free pens and complimentary postcards, Ward has now published his first book, “The Perfection of the Paper Clip.” It’s about office supplies.
I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath.
It’s a Friday night, and you’ve miraculously scored a table at the hottest no-reservations joint in town. Your first course arrives, and it looks impossibly good. What do you reach for first: your fork or your phone? And, while we’re at it, which would you rather have: an undocumented meal that lives up to its absurd promise or a fine but forgettable meal, whose photo earns 100 retweets from your envious foodie Twitter followers?