Lined up and stretched ahead, glittering
He could do the dextral pain the same way: Abiding. No one single instant of it was unendurable. Here was a second right here: he endured it. What was undealable-with was the thought of all the instants all lined up and stretching ahead, glittering. And the projected future fear of [sitting in jail again], remembering. It’s too much to think about. To Abide there. But none of it’s as of now real. What’s real is the tube and Noxzema and pain. And this could be done just like [quitting drugs cold turkey]. He could just hunker down in the space between each heartbeat and make each heartbeat a wall and live in there. Not let his head look over. What’s unendurable is what his own head could make of it all. What his head could report to him, looking over and ahead and reporting. But he could choose not to listen; he could treat his head like [his babbling halfway house co-residents]: clueless noise. He hadn’t quite gotten this before now, how it wasn’t just the matter of riding out the cravings for a Substance: everything unendurable was in the head, was the head not Abiding in the Present but hopping the wall and doing a recon and then returning with unendurable news you then somehow believed.
This is a bit from Infinite Jest that I think about a lot. I just dug it up and elided some plot details to send to a friend who’s having a hard time.
When things are really, really bad for me, and I think I can’t possibly take it, I remember that I just took it for one second. And then one more. No single moment is unendurable.