》Do you know, in thousands of years of progress, we’ve never been able to improve on the toothpick? I suppose when man was sloghing his way through the swamps, beating his dinner over the head with clubs, he picked up a stick and poked what was leftbout of his teeth. And here we are today, traveling beyond the speed of light, proving Einstein wrong, and scattering toothpics throughout the universe. A marvelous creation, man. (Margaret Weis ‘Star Of The Guardians: The Lost King’)

》Human life is boring. Not just modern industrial life. You’ve studied anthropology. How does your “natural“ man live? He fills about four hours a day with fishing, or hunting, or building the odd canoe, then – nothing. The poor sod sits around brewing beer or chewing cocoa to pass the time, just like we watch TV, or go to the movies, or fuck more often than we need to. We’re doomed, as we hit the light, to the tedium of seventy-odd years of existence. So what do we do? We invent excitement, something to do. It’s called cultural evolution. That’s the edge we’ve got over the rest of nature. Progress, machines, work, duty, family. The whole business, just to keep us going all the long boring time. Of course, the irony is that attempting to keep ourselves busy has just made things worse. We’ve sentenced ourselves to extra time. They’ve learned to keep us alive longer, for Christ’s sake, and so we have to find new ways of staving off the boredom. Mice on a treadmill. (Jenny Diski, ‘Rainforest’)

》I know that there are very few things in the world that spoil by being kept waiting. Rice, of course, and soufflees, and fine old burgundy. But women…? In my experience, no. (Julian Barnes, ‘England, England’)