probablytom

A library of thoughts and things worth sharing.

Charlie Ravioli

— Sourced from Adam Gopnik, New Yorker

Bumping into Mr. Ravioli is a story published in the New Yorker about how we became so busy, and what it means for our culture writ large.

The real question, I saw, was not “Why this friend?” but “Why this fiction?” Why, as Olivia had seen so clearly, are grownups in New York so busy, and so obsessed with the language of busyness that it dominates their conversation? Why are New Yorkers always bumping into Charlie Ravioli and grabbing lunch, instead of sitting down with him and exchanging intimacies, as friends should, as people do in Paris and Rome? Why is busyness the stuff our children make their invisible friends from, as country children make theirs from light and sand?

Interesting read, and I imagine even more true now than it was when originally published in 2002. You can read a scan of the original print version, in charming three-column format, here.


Update 19/12: There's a very good audio version of the story, told by the author 10 years after the original airing, right here.