Maybe ten years ago I was on my way somewhere with my lovely friend Jen, who has both feet on the ground but yet maintains the ability to dance, and I was waxing lyrical about something or other, a small time fantasy of putting the world to rights, adjusting the order of things. My turned her eyes from the road and give me a sidelong glance. “Wasted thoughts,” she said.
At the time I was dumbstruck. The concept was revolutionary to me. It is a concept that I’ve returned to regularly since then, pigeonholing my thinking into boxes marked ‘wasted’ and ‘not wasted’. This practice of auditing my thoughts has made me much more disciplined. I do less fulmination, less worry, less vanity and less indignation. I get a lot more done than I used to and I do it more efficiently.
This discipline enabled a tougher Rustichello and I have grown strong and tall as a consequence. I am now a man of consequence. I am better than the man I thought I might be, better than I could have envisioned. And there’s the conundrum. If I had imagined myself, way back when, as the man I am now those imaginings would have been wasted thoughts and I would have cast them aside as vain and nothing useful.
But these extravagant restraints upon my thinking are no longer instructive. They don’t catch me dreaming teenage dreams of rock superstardom or silk cut love or a briefcase full of cash under the aqueduct; I don’t dream those dreams anymore. The net I carry to catch those thoughts is idle: my efficiency drive is over.
I need more wasted thoughts now. I can’t discipline myself into the space I thought appropriate when I was twenty odd, I can’t attempt to snuggle myself into the shape I thought I should be. I am shaped by so much more now than then, and I’ve got to let that happen.
The great glorious overabundance of thoughts that the Rustichello’s produce mean that quite a lot of those thoughts might be characterised as wasted, and I don’t need an efficiency drive to moderate that, that’s love. I don’t need to be a miser with love: I can revel in those kinds of wasted thoughts, they are happy thoughts.