30

Από τότε που με θυμάμαι, προτιμούσα πάντα να μείνω σπίτι και να διαβάσω ένα βιβλίο, να δω μία ταινία, να ακούσω μουσική (όχι απαραίτητα με αυτή την σειρά) από το να βγω έξω και να στριμωχτώ ανάμεσα σε αγνώστους. Είχα πάντα φίλους και ποτέ δεν ξεπερνούσαν σε αριθμό τους 5 ή 6. Αυτό, αν και συχνά δημιουργούσε τα όποια προβλήματα μη διαθεσιμότητάς τους 24/7, εξασφάλιζε εν μέρει πως θα ήταν αληθινοί φίλοι. Άλλωστε, όντας φίλοι μου για χρόνια, είχαν περάσει, όπως κι εγώ, όλα τα συνηθισμένα crash tests τα οποία υποβάλλουμε ο ένας στον άλλον – συνειδητά ή ασυνείδητα – στα πλαίσια μιας φιλίας.

Μετά με έπεισαν πως πρέπει να αποκτήσω και weak ties (βλ. Granovetter, M., 1973; 1983). Γιατί πρέπει. 

Έτσι άρχισα να διαβάζω λιγότερο, να κοινωνικοποιούμε περισσότερο. Να ακούω μουσική λιγότερο, να βγαίνω περισσότερο. Να βλέπω λιγότερες ταινίες, να ανοίγομαι περισσότερο. Λάθος.

Πάνω σε μια συζήτηση, όταν εσύ είσαι ακόμα ελαφρώς ανυποψίαστος, ο συνομιλητής σου λέει κάτι, για την ακρίβεια του ξεφεύγει κάτι, και αυτό που λέει είναι σαν το τουβλάκι του tetris που έπρεπε να πέσει από ψηλά, που χρειαζόσουν για να καθαρίσεις την πίστα. Έτσι ξαφνικά, everything falls into place. Ξαφνικά καταλαβαίνεις ποιος είναι ο λύκος και ποιος είναι το πρόβατο και σιχαίνεσαι λίγο αυτούς που συναναστρέφεσαι. Τον συνομιλητή σου. Το brand new ‘weak tie’. 

Και μετά σιχαίνεσαι λίγο και τον εαυτό σου. Αυτό που έγινες. Είπα λίγο. Ίσως θα έπρεπε περισσότερο. People ain’t no good.

Date a girl who reads

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

by Rosemarie Urquico (posted originally on Facebook)

29

Rain makes everything better. No matter where you are. No matter who you are. No matter where you’re going. Rain releases the pain. The pain takes the form of your tears, running down your cheeks. Rain allows you to cry, ensuring you that no one will notice.

You can blame it on the rain. Rain is cure. Make it rain.

The Little Prince, extract from Chapter IV

The Little Prince (1943), original title ‘Le Petit Prince’, by Saint-Exupery, translated by Katherine Woods

(drawings by Saint-Exupery, found here)

I have serious reason to believe that the planet from which the little prince came is the asteroid known as B-612. This asteroid has only once been seen through the telescope. That was by a Turkish astronomer, in 1909. 

On making his discovery, the astronomer had presented it to the International Astronomical Congress, in a great demonstration. But he was in Turkish costume, and so nobody would believe what he said. Grown-ups are like that…

Fortunately, however, for the reputation of Asteroid B-612, a Turkish dictator made a law that his subjects, under pain of death, should change to European costume. So in 1920 the astronomer gave his demonstration all over again, dressed with impressive style and elegance. And this time everybody accepted his report. 

If I have told you these details about the asteroid, and made a note of its number for you, it is on account of the grown-ups and their ways. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

If you were to say to the grown-ups: “I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,” they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all. You would have to say to them: “I saw a house that cost $20,000.” Then they would exclaim: “Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

Just so, you might say to them: “The proof that the little prince existed is that he was charming, that he laughed, and that he was looking for a sheep. If anybody wants a sheep, that is a proof that he exists.” And what good would it do to tell them that? They would shrug their shoulders, and treat you like a child. But if you said to them: “The planet he came from is Asteroid B-612,” then they would be convinced, and leave you in peace from their questions.

27

Κενό. Θέλεις να γράψεις αλλά δεν μπορείς. Θέλεις να τα πεις, να του τα πεις. Να του τα πεις κι αυτός να σε κοιτάει. 

Θέλεις να του τα πεις όλα μαζεμένα, έτσι ξεδιάντροπα, κι ό,τι θέλει ας γίνει. Γιατί κάποια πράγματα δεν γράφονται, πρέπει να τα πεις και ν’ ακούσεις την φωνή σου, τον εαυτό σου να τα λέει. Πρέπει να δεις τον άλλον, να βλέπεις τον άλλον να σε ακούει. Και είναι μια κι έξω. No second thoughts, no time to think. All at once. 

26 Γκόμενος uber alles/ Δεν ήσουν ποτέ φίλος μου

Αναφέρομαι στους φίλους-σχεσάκηδες. Ξέρω, έχω αναπτύξει μια εμμονή με αυτή την κατηγορία, ίσως εξαιτίας του ρυθμού με τον οποίο εξαφανίζονται. Και το λυπηρό είναι πως τελικά η νόσος χτυπάει όλες τις ηλικίες και τα γένη. 

Κάνετε καλή παρέα, βγαίνετε, η Χ ή ο Υ γνωρίζει το πρόσκαιρο “έτερον ήμισυ” και ξαφνικά εξαφανίζεται. Φυσικά, παίρνει τηλέφωνο που και που, συναντιέστε για ψώνια, για βοήθεια σε κανένα χαμαλίκι, εάν έχει πάθει κάτι το PC κ.ο.κ. Βγαίνετε και για κανένα ποτό που και που. ΠΟΤΕ μόνοι! Έρχεται ΠΑΝΤΑ και η σχέση. Ανεξάρτητα αν είναι καλός, συμπαθητικός κλπ άνθρωπος. Είναι αδιάφορο εάν εσύ θέλεις να βγάλεις τα μάτια σου με κουτάλι, να ξεκολλήσεις το δέρμα σου με τα ίδια σου τα νύχια, να καταπιεις καυτά κάστανα και μόνο που ανοίγει ο εν λόγω άνθρωπος το στόμα του. Όχι, θα τον φας στην μάπα γιατί είχες την ατυχία η Χ ή ο Υ (πρώην καρδιακή/ος φίλη/ος) να βάζει τον γκόμενο πάνω απ’ όλα. Ε, δε βαριέσαι, αυτό το φύλλο τράβηξες από την τράπουλα της ζωής και συνεχίζεις. 

Κοίτα τώρα τί γίνεται. Η Χ ή ο Υ χωρίζει. Σε παίρνει τηλέφωνο. Κλάψα, οδυρμός, ποτά για να ξεχάσει, ξεχνάει (γιατί ουδείς αναντικατάστατος), ξανά κολλητοί φίλοι, ξεχνάς κι εσύ την κλανιά που έτρωγες τόσο καιρό γιατί είσαι λίγο ζώον. Βγαίνετε, μοιράζεστε, χαίρεσαι. Ξύπνα ζώον. Νέα/ος γκόμενα/ος. ΌΧΙ για σένα. Ξύπνα ζώον. X/Y has left the building. From the top. 

Την πρωτη γύρα δεν μπορείς να την αποφύγεις. Fool me twice όμως… and the shame is all mine.

absurdity

In certain situations, replying ‘nothing’ when asked what one is thinking about may be pretense in a man. Those who are loved are well aware of this. But if that reply is sincere, if it symbolizes that odd state of soul in which the void becomes eloquent, in which the chain of daily gestures is broken, in which the heart vainly seeks the link that will connect it again, then it is as it were the first sign of absurdity.

Extract from Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus (published in 1942), translated by Justin O’Brien in 1955. It is taken from “Chapter 1 – An Absurd Reasoning”.

“The Myth of Sisyphus” introduces the absurd through Sisyphus, a character taken from the Greek mythology, condemned to push a boulder over a mountain, let it roll down and push it up again; a meaningless task, an absurd task.