One1 of my goals in life is to become head waiter of a refined cafe2 (white apron, silver tray), with tables set in a quiet and shaded garden. The patrons would be middle-aged or elderly women, and despite knowing their names and cultivating an immense fondness3 for each, I would simply refer to them as madame. I would never breach a certain cordiality beyond venturing a “Madame would like another glass?” while half-bowing, or “Madame does not feel hungry this morning?” while removing a tray.
I am compelled to this partly because there should be a guy, and partly because there is something transcendent in everything required to complete such a goal. The ceremonious serving, the memorization of faces and orders, the place-making: cafe building, lawn, scented hedges (lilacs, magnolias, roses, lavender, wisteria…), lighting, silverware, food etc. All of it must be executed well for the effect to work. Nothing could be skimped or fudged, as we see it done every day in the rest of our lives. The goal then, remade broadly, is to see to it that something is done as well as it feels it should be done. To work until some part of life becomes ritual, almost fairytale, and so that other people can partake in such ritual. The goal is not a desire for material things but a desire for effort.
But there must be more hidden within the compulsion.