In Catch-22, a character named Colonel Cathcart obsessively divides his life into two categories. “Feathers in my cap” are accomplishments; good things. “Black eyes” are bad news or embarrassments. Of course, this categorization just serves to further paralyze this terminally indecisive figure. But as a method of compulsive life assessment it’s not bad, and I find myself doing it constantly.
As an example, I’ll do a rundown of our night out in the fair city of Buffalo last night. The whole night was structured around a furniture delivery and a friend’s show at a local venue, with some time to kill in between.
Feather in Cap: We deliver and sell a desk.
Black Eye: The Albright Knox is nixed as a time-killing venue because it’s open till 10pm only on the first Friday of every month, not every Friday like we thought.
Feather in Cap: We go for a walk in nearby Delaware Park instead, walking on the frozen lake and exploring. We spy a mysterious animal.
Black Eye: We are discouraged from further walking after encountering the foulest sulfur stench in the history of the universe.
Feather in Cap: Substantial and cheap Italian food for dinner. Penne artichoke leftovers. We finish just in time to meet friend, score $2 tickets to show.
Black Eye: Lousy opening band starts playing an hour late, treats us to an hour and a half set (!) Second opener is artistically dubious as well. It’s pushing 1am when friend’s band goes on. I rediscover that at 25, I am way too old and ornery to leave the house.
Feather in Cap: Friend’s band is good.
Black Eye: Someone smashed the van window with a brick.
Black Eye: And stole our GPS.
Black Eye: We get back at 3am, just in time for 5 hours of sleep.
Like Colonel Cathcart, I’m left unable to decide whether we had an awesome night or whether it was a complete debacle. Let’s just say it wasn’t the best night for faith in humanity, but a decent one for faith in mysterious animals.