Who hasn’t felt it? Raged against it? Slapped his or her own body around like a rubber ball in the hope of, somehow, taming the world’s large and multifarious nic‑nacs into an orderly event at which the one body can somehow find itself in attendance? At first it seems like a terrible indignity‑‑ SOMETHING IS HAPPENING WITHOUT US IN IT!  The world is going on. Someone is having a good time‑‑ our own friends, perhaps‑‑ and we are not there to partake in its emoluments of cheer and generosity. Having a swell time in Provence is somehow diminished by the knowledge that a great ball is going on in Newport, and we are not there dancing.  The one cloud over the shores of Cancun is somehow rendered a major inclemency by the thought that, in some miraculous Pittsburgh, a pure blue of unembellished clarity is wafting its way over the bodies of luckier souls than we are.

So something is always happening without us in it:  The beautiful woman we recently jilted has not, as in our wished‑for fantasies, gotten herself immediately into some remarkable nunnery, but‑‑ even as we sit here‑‑ is coddling her way into the arms of some at least equal Romeo, her life‑‑ alas‑‑ not quite ruined by our absence from it. The moon still rises over Gibraltar with the same shimmying splendor as once greeted us when we stopped there en route from Tangiers to Bangladesh. Someone insists on having a good time and we are not there to partake of it in the largesse of our single‑situated bodies.

So something is always happening without us in it, and the sooner the thought perishes from our mind the more likely the thing that is happening will not be what, in the end, we least want to find we have missed:  our single, precisely located life, our own inclemency.