“during my OPT period all I wanted was a job…

now all I do is whine about my job. ” This how a friend began an interesting conversation about ‘work-life balance’ and all that modern day workplace crap. I’ll not bore you with the minutiae of our talk but will share with you this tale from Invisible Cities by Italian writer Italo Calvino.

When a man rides a long time through wild regions he feels the desire for a city. Finally he comes to Isidora, a city where the buildings have spiral staircases encrusted with spiral seashells, where perfect telescopes and violins are made, where the foreigner hesitating between two women always encounters a third, where cockfights degenerate into bloody brawls among the bettors.

He was thinking of all these things when he desired a city. Isidora, therefore, is the city of his dreams: with one difference. The dreamed-of city contained him as a young man; he arrives at Isidora in his old age. In the square there is the wall where the old men sit and watch the young go by; he is seated in a row with them. Desires are already memories.

This friend, like most others is probably imaginary. We do a lot of intellectual jousting, just for kicks.