Sometimes you just need to read some Raymond Chandler at the end of a workday and have Phil Marlowe give you some perspective. Marlowe would have no patience for hippie platitudes or Rilke quotes, but even he knows that it’s important to be a good human. Or at least try to be:
I stepped out into the night air that nobody had yet found out how to option. But a lot of people were probably trying. They’d get around to it.
I drove on to the Oxnard cut-off and turned back along the ocean. The big eight-wheelers and sixteen-wheelers were streaming north, all hung over with orange lights. On the right the great fat solid Pacific trudging into shore like a scrubwoman going home. No moon, no fuss, hardly a sound of the surf. No smell. None of the harsh wild smell of the sea. A California ocean. California, the department-store state. The most of everything and the best of nothing. Here we go again. You’re not human tonight, Marlowe.
All right. Why should I be?…Who am I cutting my throat for this time? …All I know is that something isn’t what it seems and the old tired but always reliable hunch tells me that if the hand is played the way it is dealt the wrong person is going to lose the pot. Is that my business? Well, what is my business? Do I know? Did I ever know? Let’s not go into that. You’re not human tonight, Marlowe. Maybe I never was or ever will be…Maybe we all get like this in the cold half-lit world where always the wrong thing happens and never the right.
Now, wait a minute…You’ve got the wrong attitude, Marlowe. You’re not human tonight.
(This is from Chapter 13 of The Little Sister; read the whole chapter here)