Nashville, TN, February 1, 2012

I took a long time getting started this morning. Too much beer the night before. I was irritated with myself for drinking so much, but I suppose one can’t always be pleased with oneself. There is a risk of complacency. But at the same time, I see that this attitude in itself could also lead to complacency, in its own way. This is a dilemma for which I have not been able to find a satisfactory solution.

After finally leaving the house, I followed up with some coffee shops I’d visited the day before and secured an interview at one of them, a place called Bongo Java across the street from Belmont University’s music school. It was filled with hip-looking college students, most of them sitting on the porch smoking and drinking coffee. It smacked of being a self-conscious scene—deliberate surfaces, empty interiors. I could smell this in the haze of cigarette smoke.

Among these Belmont alternative types, alternative being a relative term, there were many attractive girls. I, too, can be taken in by surfaces, skeptical as I am.

Later at my apartment, I felt quite alone and tired out, even though it was only early afternoon. The guy installing our cable internet proved to be an unexpectedly agreeable and pleasant visitor, with whom I could commiserate. He asked me about my roommate’s classical guitar, wondering if I was a musician. He also must have took note of the classical music playing, which was only on because there are a few classical CDs lying around, and it’s pleasant to have them playing in the background. I told him I was not a musician, and asked him if he played music. He had studied music in college, though it did him no good, according to him. I asked a follow-up question, I forget what. He had later studied at the New York Film Academy and worked in the film industry for a number of years. At times, I am rather inquisitive. We talked extensively about cinema, and he asked me what I look for when writing about film. All in all, he was good company. He let slide a few remarks about his ex-wife in New York, for whom he didn’t have warm feelings.

I ate dinner with Lewis that evening and deliberated over the different jobs I could potentially accept. After allowing time for sufficient digestion, I borrowed his student ID and went to the Vanderbilt gym. I felt a little nervous swiping the card in front of the monitors, but they didn’t say anything to me. The place was resplendent with fit, attractive students, toning their muscles and tightening their asses. I toned and tightened too, while I admired the girls surreptitiously and felt in general like an intruder in their collegial, sealed-off world of affluence.