Umbrella in the Stand

“Is the true self this which stands on the pavement in January, or that which bends over the balcony in June? Am I here, or am I there? Or is the true self neither this nor that, neither here nor there, but something so varied and wandering that it is only when we give the rein to its wishes and let it take its way unimpeded that we are indeed ourselves? Circumstances compel unity; for convenience’ sake a man must be a whole. The good citizen when he opens his door in the evening must be banker, golfer, husband, father; not a nomad wandering in the desert, a mystic staring at the sky, a debauchee in the slums of San Francisco, a soldier heding a revolution, a pariah howling with scepticism and solitude. When he opens the door, he must run his fingers through his hair and put his umbrella in the stand like the rest.”
Virginia Woolf, “Street Haunting: A London Adventure,” Selected Essays

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