In no particular order…

…the things I thought about today when I thought I wasn’t thinking at all…

Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s short story – Rashomon – A fired servant contemplates the depths to which he could possibly sink in order to survive. He does this as he sits outside the temple where dead bodies are discarded. He walks into the temple and is surprised to see an old woman removing hairs from the head of a dead woman’s head. This deeply offends his sensibilities he shakes the woman, wants to find out why she is doing what she is doing. He is told that the dead woman used to sell snake meat as fish when she was alive and that she is doing it to make a living for herself, selling wigs. Upon hearing this, the unemployed servant is instantly transformed into a thief as he steals the old woman’s robe and runs.

I Love Galesburg in the Springtime by Jack Finney – One of the short stories was about a young couple building a new house from an old blueprint they found. The house is magnificent but when the couple move in they undergo a gradual transformation into people who might have lived in just such a house a couple of centuries ago. Their mannerisms, their dressing, even the weather patterns they experience go back in time.

Akutagawa again…and Haruki Murakami – I am intrigued by the narrative style they both used, Murakami in his novel – After Dark and Akutagawa in his short story called Green Onions of the writer/narrator taking on the role of a moving, all seeing camera. I am inspired by that approach.

Endless thought loops – not just endlessly looping thoughts by why they loop in the first place!

How visceral my contempt for winter really is.

What was it about the extra large button on the coat of the woman in the subway, about her solid looking platinum wedding ring, her sterling silver bracelet, her widely flaring pants and long pearl necklace that made her look so much more elegant to me than other female passengers on the train. And why wasn’t she holding on to something while the subway lurched its way to the next station? Was she a germophobe or was she trying to prove to herself and others her contempt for seeking support?

How dependent I am on lists for functional efficiency.

The passage of time again…this is an endless loop. This particular thought loop appears to have its beginning in a couple of suits that my Dad used to own – a brownish/olive green woollen fabric. I liked how he looked in them but he acquired them sometime in the late sixties and my memories of him wearing it cover a four or five year period starting in the early seventies. But when I picture those suits now I think of discussions about their purchase and how old I thought they were even if they were purchased just five to six years before my noticing them and being aware of them. Just like anything that happened four or five years ago takes on an ancient history tinge for my daughter. Anything that happened before she was born is so remarkably irrelevant for her, a time when she didn’t exist. And yet my memories of the European car tour with my husband in 1999 are as fresh as if I had just returned from that trip. I know I got myself a fancy haircut in Paris and when I got back home, I learnt how to say that in French, in my French class, to the teacher who wanted a description of my vacation in French, “J’ai coupe mes cheveux” (accent on the e in ‘coupe’…don’t know how the keyboard does that). Was that really 10 years ago…how is it possible! I am still wearing some of the clothes and shoes I owned then!

How this thought…about the passage of time…about how it flies or how it drags…or how it feels…is such an irrelevant, nonsensical thought. It defines idleness!

1 Comment

  1. Hi! You are tagged here: to read your take on this.

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