11 June 2004
I was in a 49th-birthday funk fortunately, it's impossible to do that more than once when I came up with this bit of projection:
Some day, more likely some night, that "finite number of breaths" will be reached, everything will come to an end, and no one will know until two or three days later because some mundane task wasn't performed on time, some phone call wasn't returned, or, most absurdly, because this goddamn Web site wasn't updated.
I wouldn't have thought about it today except that Lachlan, filling in at suburban blight, reported this ghastly tale:
The decomposed body of a man dressed in pajamas was discovered in an abandoned Tokyo apartment building 20 years after he is believed to have died, police said Thursday.
A Tokyo Metropolitan Police official said construction workers were preparing to tear down the building earlier this month when they found the man's skeletal remains laying face-up on a mattress on the tatami reed mat floor of a second-floor room.
Lachlan says that in a town the size of Tokyo, this isn't all that surprising, but:
[T]here is something ineffably sad about a man dying alone.
How much pain did he endure? Did he die in his sleep? Impossible to know, of course. Still, I cannot escape the image of a man in his final moments, in an abandoned building, with no one there. I can only hope he wanted it this way, and that his isolation was a chosen path.
At least I can reasonably expect my absence to be noted within the first week.