THE ACCIDENTALIST: A Strange Fever
When physical space contracts, the mind is driven to manufacture what isn't there.
I've been thinking about constricted spaces lately, those crammed, no-exit corners that make us feel diminished in some way, wishing to expand, to break free. In New York, you fit yourself into these spaces daily. They have a way of dictating the very procedure of your mind: the segments, the modules, the shortcuts you think in. Adjustments are made. Your thoughts become the size of the bus seat you occupy—concentrated, balled up. In the subway we press together like guests at a doomed cocktail party, alienated from one another and acutely attuned. We grow increasingly introverted as more riders pour through the doors. A shoved woman complains loudly; a man down the aisle allows himself a mild explosion. "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space," says Hamlet. But is this really
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