Better To Forget And Make Do

“Are you ‘pleased, contented, joyful, delighted’? Do you feel ‘lucky, fortunate’? Are things ‘clever and fitting,’ ‘successful and suitable’ for you?” Leo Auffmann asks his wife Lena. (Leo, who is a character in Ray Bradbury’s book Dandelion Wine, was asked to construct a Happiness Machine.)

Ambition- goal, aim, objective, aspiration, dream, hope, desire, purpose.

We all have different goals, different dreams and ambitions in life. But almost all of us seek to be happy and content. Even though happiness takes different meaning and form for different people. We are all so caught up with our dreams and our daily routine of working and providing for ourselves and our family and securing our future that we somehow miss out on all the little things that have brought us pleasure at some point in our lives.

It’s only when we lose something or someone dear to us that we realize we should have behaved and lived differently. How many times have I myself driven at sunset without noticing it, because I’ve been too busy driving to an important meeting or taking the kids to their different activities? How many times have I looked out the window without seeing the sunrise even though I am up before five every morning? How many times do we notice how beautiful the day is while we hurry to the bus, the metro, or our cars in the morning? And now when I look at the sunset or the sunrise, or watch the morning traffic from my window I get sad. Sad to know that things are out there but for one reason or another I can’t have them, or they don’t mean the same to me anymore. That my time has come and gone and I have been too busy to even notice.

In his book Dandelion Wine Ray Bradbury writes:

And then inside the Happiness Machine, Lena Auffmann began to weep.
“She simply can’t be crying!” Leo Auffmann, blinking, pressed his ear to the machine. “But… yes… like a baby…”
He could only open the door.
“Wait.” There his wife sat, tears rolling down her cheeks. “Let me finish.” She cried some more.
Leo Auffmann turned off the machine, stunned.
“Oh, it’s the saddest thing in the world!” she wailed. “I feel awful, terrible.” She climbed out through the door.
“It’ll be all right, Leo, after I cry some more.”
“The machine says, ‘You’re young.’ I’m not. It lies, that Sadness Machine!”
“Sad in what way?”
His wife was quieter now. “Leo, the mistake you made is you forgot some hour, some day, we all got to climb out of that thing and go back to dirty dishes and the beds not made. While you’re in that thing, sure, a sunset lasts forever almost, the air smells good, the temperature is fine. All things you want to last, last… And let’s be frank, Leo, how long can you look at a sunset? Who wants a sunset to last? Who wants perfect temperature? Who wants air smelling good always? So after awhile, who would notice? Better, for a minute or two, a sunset. After that, let’s have something else. People are like that, Leo. How could you forget?”
“No, if the sunset stayed and we got bored, that would be a real sadness. So two things you did you should never have. You made quick things go slow and stay around. You brought things faraway to our backyard where they don’t belong, where they just tell you, ‘No, you’ll never travel, Lena Auffmann, Paris you’ll never see! Rome you’ll never visit.’ But I always knew that, so why tell me? Better to forget and make do, Leo, make do, eh?”


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One Response to Better To Forget And Make Do

  1. Things that are precious are only precious because they are rare. Over-exposure to beautiful things can numb our reactions to them and they are no longer as beautiful. We need to treasure the rare special moments when we can. 🙂

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