Dept. of Speculation Quotes

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Dept. of Speculation Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
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Dept. of Speculation Quotes Showing 31-60 of 162
“I met an Australian who said he loved to travel alone. He talked about his job as we drank by the sea. When a student gets it, when it first breaks across his face, it’s so fucking beautiful, he told me. I nodded, moved, though I’d never taught anyone a single thing. What do you teach, I asked him. Rollerblading, he explained.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“Evolution designed us to cry out if we are being abandoned. To make as much noise as possible so the tribe will come back for us.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“My husband gets a new job.... The pay is better. It has benefits. How is it, people ask. "Not bad," he says with a shrug. "Only vaguely soul-crushing.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“What would it be like to make it so late into life before trouble hit? To always have someone on the front porch, calling you to dinner? The husband doesn’t have even a touch of this raised-by-wolvesness.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“There is a picture of my mother holding me as a baby, a look of naked love on her face. For years, it embarrassed me. Now there is a picture of me with my daughter looking exactly the same way.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“Dizzying, this happiness.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“Once when he was still young, I saw a bit of his scalp showing through his hair and I was afraid. But it was just a cowlick. Now sometimes it shows through for real, but I feel only tenderness.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“Sometimes at night I conduct interviews with myself.

What do you want?
I don't know.

What do you want?
I don't know.

What seems to be the problem?
Just leave me alone.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“But lately I'm like a beatnik in a movie. Fuck this bourgeois shit, baby! Let's be pure of heart again!”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“There is a husband who requires mileage receipts, another who wants sex at three a.m. One who forbids short haircuts, another who refuses to feed the pets. I would never put up with that, all the other wives think. Never.

But my agent has a theory. She says every marriage is jerry-rigged. Even the ones that look reasonable from the outside are held together with chewing gum and wire and string.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“Also because I’m always saying he could quit his job if he wanted and we’ll go somewhere cheap and live on rice and beans with our kid. My husband doesn’t believe me about that last bit. And why should he? Once I spent $13 on a piece of cheese.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“The thing is this: Even if the husband leaves her in this awful craven way, she will still have to count it as a miracle, all of those happy years she spent with him. “It was a fucking miracle that I found him,” she tells the philosopher.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“get a job writing fortune cookies instead. I could try to write really American ones. Already, I’ve jotted down a few of them. Objects create happiness. The animals are pleased to be of use. Your cities will shine forever. Death will not touch you.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“What Rilke said: I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“I bought a warmer coat with many ingenious pockets. You put your hands in all of them.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“If you are tired of everything you possess, imagine that you have lost all these things.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“We stayed at a cheap hotel that had a view out the window more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen. The water was wickedly blue. A cliff of dark rock jutted out of the sea. I wanted to cry because I was sure I would never get to be in such a place again.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“At night, they lie in bed holding hands. It is possible if she is stealthy enough that the wife can do this while secretly giving the husband the finger.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
You think that the mental anguish you are experiencing is a permanent condition, but for the vast majority of people it is only a temporary state.

(But what if I’m special? What if I’m in the minority?)”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“Memories are microscopic. Tiny particles that swarm together and apart. Little people, Edison called them. Entities.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“I tried to figure out if I felt calmer with a blanket over my head. No I did not was the answer.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“Whenever the wife wants to do drugs, she thinks about Sartre. One bad trip and then a giant lobster followed him around for the rest of his days.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“The wife reads about something called “the wayward fog” on the Internet. The one who has the affair becomes enveloped in it. His old life and wife become unbearably irritating. His possible new life seems a shimmering dream. All of this has to do with chemicals in the brain, allegedly.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“There is a man who travels around the world trying to find places where you can stand still and hear no human sound. It is impossible to feel calm in cities, he believes, because we so rarely hear birdsong there. Our ears evolved to be our warning systems. We are on high alert in places where no birds sing. To live in a city is to be forever flinching.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“The days with the baby felt long but there was nothing expansive about them. Caring for her required me to repeat a series of tasks that had the peculiar quality of seeming both urgent and tedious. They cut the day up into little scraps.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“I hate often and easily. I hate, for example, people who sit with their legs splayed. People who claim to give 110 percent. People who call themselves "comfortable" when what they mean is decadently rich. You're so judgmental, my shrink tells me, and I cry all the way home, thinking of it.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“She remembers the first night she knew she loved him, the way the fear came rushing in. She laid her head on his chest and listened to his heart. One day this too will stop, she thought. The no, no, no of it.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“For fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, she’d suspend her fierce judgment of the world and fall silent there. And when she did, a tiny space would clear in my head and I could think again.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“What Simone Weil said: Attention without object is a supreme form of prayer.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
“Sometimes she just stands and looks out the window where the people whose lives are intact enough not to have to take yoga live.”
Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation