Abiding

Unknown

He could do the dextral pain the same way: Abiding. No one single instant of it was unendurable. Here was a second right here: he endured it. What was undealable-with was the thought of all the instants all lined up and stretching ahead, glittering. And the projected future fear of the A.D.A., whoever was out there in a hat eating Third World fast food; the fear of getting convicted of Nuckslaughter, of V.I.P. -suffocation; of a lifetime on the edge of his bunk in M.C.O. Walpole, remembering. It’s too much to think about. To Abide there. But none of it’s as of now real. What’s real is the tube and Noxema and pain. And this could be done just like the Old Cold Bird. He could just hunker down in the space between each heartbeat and make each heartbeat a wall and live in there. Not let his head look over. What’s unendurable is what his own head could make of it all. What his head could report to him, looking over and ahead and reporting. But he could choose not to listen; he could treat his head like G. Day or R. Lenz: clueless noise. He hadn’t quite gotten this before now, how it wasn’t just the matter of riding out the cravings for a Substance: everything unendurable was in the head, was the head not Abiding in the Present but hopping the wall and doing recon and then returning with unbearable news you then somehow believed.

–David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, p. 860


It’s a lifelong Disease: You can’t keep the thoughts from popping in there. The thing they try to teach you is just to Let Them Go, the thoughts. Let them come as they will, but do not Entertain them. No need to invite a substance thought or -memory in, offer it a tonic and your favorite chair, and chat with it about old times.

–David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, p. 890

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