Wednesday, May 27

NAKED

For the past few days I’ve been feeling a bit more depressed than usual. The only cure so far is having a large creamy cappuccino with Oreste, the owner of a local Italian coffeebar. Oreste is tall, handsome and married. He has three children and runs the coffeebar with his wife. He keeps telling me to practice my Italian with him, but perhaps he’d rather practice something else. There are days when he talks about Italian or English poets, and how he would like to be a solitary suffering genius like them.
Yesterday we talked about his parents and Luigi Pirandello, who was born in his hometown.
“Did you know that Pirandello wrote a poem called Hard, Lonely, Naked?” he asked.
He slowly moved his fingers through his curls.
I told him I had never heard of this poem before. The only thing I knew about Pirandello was that he did not like to work, like me. We decided that Hard, Lonely, Naked was a great title for a long poem. It's a bit like Tall, Handsome, Married. Or maybe not.

Monday, May 25

POETRY

There are days that I miss Paris, but I’m ready for my next assignment: a trip to Sicily. My boss has decided to send me to Taormina, where I will be in charge of organising something vague. I love organising vague events, especially when lunch and dinner sound like poetry. A few days ago I discussed the menu with my Italian colleague and asked her if she had a preference for parmigiana di zucchine verdi con pomodoro, mozzarella e maggiorana fresca or if she would choose rotolini di manzo speziato con fagiolini e dressing. In the end we decided we would serve both, and add frittatini di verdure e ricotta alle erbe aromatiche all’ aceto balsamico on top. To tell the truth I’m slightly nervous but I think that things will work out fine.

Monday, May 18

CHANGE IT BACK

After C.’s wedding I spent exactly one day feeling sorry for myself. I ate croissants in bed and had three cups of coffee whereas I would normally have one. I didn’t get dressed and watched three dvd’s in my pyjamas (Zelig, Volver and Girl with a Pearl Earring) wondering what on earth I should do with my life. There would always be orphans in Vietnam I could rescue, or I could join the navy or a convent or grow vegetables in Southern France. If you forgot about love and money life seemed so full of possibilities. In the evening a friend from Spain called announcing that he made his girlfriend pregnant, and I wondered: should I maybe move back to Madrid? It seemed that the only way to be happy was to keep moving, just in order not to feel the pain. Then I got a message from my mother, which read: HELLO DEAR HOW WAS THE WEDDING AND WHAT DID THEY SAY ABOUT THE DRESS DID YOU GIVE YOUR PRESENT AND HOW WAS THE FOOD? COULD YOU TELL ME WHY I HAVE EVERYTHING IN CAPITALS I REALLY DON’’T KNOW HOW TO CHANGE IT BACK AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY NEWS FROM YOUR LAST SESSION WITH THE ACUPUNCTURIST. So I wrote back and decided I would stick around for some more time. It sort of feels like I am needed here.

Sunday, May 17

HARMONY

Despite the weather forecast, it almost rained on C.’s wedding day. She looked so happy that it made me want to laugh and cry. There’s something very confusing about witnessing somebody elses happiness, especially if it is obviously so profound. You want to ask them: how do you do it? How can you be so certain that you want to see eachother every single day? Of course there are no logical answers to that. C. told me that it just felt right with him, she knew he’d make her happy, she knew he was the one for her. Together there would be more harmony in their lives. I don’t think I ever wanted somebody so bad or felt that I was wanted in that way. There’s something very possessive about being in love. Meanwhile I tried to see if there were some interesting Italian men in the crowd. After the ceremony I got talking to some dark eyed business men from Rome. One of them seemed quite attractive, except for the facial hair on his nose. Call me critical, but I just can’t have the hots for someone who will have to shave his nose.

Saturday, May 9

CLICK PAUSE SILENCE

On Thursday night I went to see a ballet performance with some colleagues, called Click Pause Silence. Even though I love to dance I had not been to a performance in ages. There’s something slightly perverted in watching people express all of their emotions physically, while staying inert in your chair. It confronted me with how unnatural my daily reality is. During the break my colleagues spoke about the Opera in Paris and what the difference is between the Opéra Bastille and Opéra Garnier. (“Did you not know it? If you want to hear Opera you go to Bastille, you go to Garnier if you want to see ballet”). We almost left during the second break, since we were unaware that the performance had three parts. I like to watch the movement of bodies, even without reading the explanation in the booklet that comes with the art. The explanation tends to be a bit heavy (‘sometimes you click with people, then there is a pause, then there is silence’) but the movement of silent dancers should say enough. It’s all about the inadequecy of human relations, the inabilty to connect with other people, while at the same time wanting what you fear the most.

Tuesday, May 5

SOLITUDE

There are days when I think about getting a cat. At first I wanted a rabbit, a white one with big fluffy ears, but after giving it some thought I quickly realised that I preferred a cat. It would be nice to come home to a living creature instead of to an empty room. But most important of all you get to name the creature, just as if it were your child. You would pick up the cat from the asylum, finally doing something useful in your life. You would name him Alexander Pousjkin or Friday or Olly or Sky. You would buy him special meals and special biscuits and on Sunday you would maybe treat him to a fish. You would watch your favourite programmes together, and he would jump on your lap if you decided to write. You’d be forced to sit still for hours, even if you wanted to get up and stretch your legs. You’d always have someone to talk to and there would always be someone to stroke and to caress. You’d say: “Alexander let me tell you what happened at the office today,” even if Alexander wouldn’t reply. But maybe I’m afraid of sharing my apartment with a a cat. Perhaps I feel most comfortable with what I know: my solitude.

Monday, May 4

JERK

This weekend I went to Amsterdam to meet up with my friend C. As you may know C. is getting married this month. She picked me up from Central Station wearing her favourite raincoat and sneakers. For a bride to be she seemed very calm, almost serene. We had coffee and cheese cake at a rundown cafe which appeared to be a hangout for Italian tourists. Compared to some of the tourists I felt like an adult, a feeling I had previously never had before. Life seemed easy, I wasn’t pregnant, there was nothing to worry about. C. and I have been friends for almost a lifetime, and it feels like she will now enter a whole new world. Sometimes I feel like I’m on the outskirts of her reality, but she probably feels she’s on the outskirts of mine. Even though I would never say it, marriage just seems like such a huge step to take. While walking through the city she asked me was I happy and I told her that I was. My fling with a married man wasn’t mentioned, I felt it was inappropriate to mention to a bride-to-be. Instead I asked about her clothes and if she had found matching underwear. I told her I had bought a new red dress, especially for her big day. ‘Wasn’t there someone who once gave you a red dress?’ she asked. ‘A genius who turned into a jerk?’ I told her life was much too short to wear the same dress twice.