Revolution III

Part I

Part II

 

Joanna was browsing through the astronomy section, oblivious to the pair of blue eyes following her every move, only to look away whenever she was on the verge of discovering the owner. She chose two books, the ones that seemed more appealing to her, and took them to the cashier. Taking out her wallet to pay for the books, she didn’t even notice the man behind the counter, looking at her nervously, the same blue eyes that were following her before.

He scanned the books and removed the price tag.

“That would be…45,69 $”, he said, as he looked for a wrapping bag.

Joanna gave him the money, offering him just a silent smile, looking at him, but not really seeing him. He opened his mouth to say something a few time, but decided against it. He rubbed his palms together, looking down, as she started for the door.

“Thank you for…”, he found himself almost yelling after her, which made Joanna look back, startled. “For…buying…real books and not…getting a Kindle…yet…!”

Joanna watched him fudging with words, than let out a laugh.  “Thanks…I guess.”

She went out the door, the spring air invading her whole body. She reached for her sunglasses and took a few more steps, before stopping, trying to look directly into the sunlight. She felt dizzy for a second, as the light was making her oblivious to the world around her. Her mind started wandering to those lazy, summer days, days spent entirely by a pool. Would she ever get that again? How about winter? Will there ever be any snow again?

“Hi! Listen, I’m really sorry…”

“Oh, man!” she jumped back to reality, taking off her sunglasses and dropping her paper bag with the books.

He quickly got her books bag and apologized again. After the initial shock of being pulled out of her reverie so sudden, Joanna recognized the cause of her distress as the young man from the book shop.

“Here”, he handed her the books again. “I’m…I’m Sean…I just…I wasn’t following you…or…um…well, I was…”

Joanna resorted to just looking at him, eyebrows raised, trying to understand where he was going with all of this.

“I meant…Hi! I was just trying to apologize for earlier…I kept trying to figure out what to say to you for…for a while now and I thought…complimenting you about not owning an e-Reader…”

“I do have an e-Reader”, Joanna smiled, full knowing where he was going with all this.

Sean closed his eyes and shook his head, amused. “I see you at the bookstore…a lot. And then I see you having lunch at the small restaurant by the corner…”

“Yeah, I work around this place….”, she offered, smiling in encouragement.

“And I kept wanting to talk to you, but you’re always so intimidating…”

Joanna decided to take everything playfully. “Oh, really? Why? Because I work in a corporation?”

“You work in a corporation? No, because there seems to be so much going on in your mind, but you just try your best not to show anything.”

Her smile faded as she started feeling less and less sure of herself. Who did this guy think he is? Was he patronizing her?

“Anyway…I just…I’d like to have dinner with you…or lunch, if you prefer.”

“What changed your mind?”

“What?”, he shook his head, not really understanding her question.

“You say you keep seeing me here, but you never had the nerve to do anything about it until now. What’s changed?”

“Well, a friend of mine bet me that I’ll ask you out when hell will freeze over so I guess something like that did happen”.

Advertisements

Tidbits

Find me at a nice piano bar.

Saturday, on a chilly and somewhat foggy October evening. Order me a girlie cocktail, like a Martini, and watch me pretend I like the taste of it, even though I’m in just for what it represents. Watch me laugh with my girlfriends while we’re exchanging life lessons on high heels. Don’t pay attention to your friend who just wants to get drunk because his latest girlfriend broke up with him. Watch me from afar, judge from my looks that I’m just the Martini type of girl, order it and feel good about yourself as you see the look upon my face turn from bothered, to surprised, to playfulness. Stroke you ego as I take a sip, crossing my legs under the table. Leave, not looking back.

Find me at a gallery.

On a very dull Thursday, in September, right after work. Watch me while I feel out of place, in front of too many photographs, nicely framed, some ordinary moments captured in an extraordinary way. Follow me around, wonder just how long my hair is underneath the red scarf. Look sheepishly in my direction, pretending you’re interested in the pictures on the walls. Try to think about something clever to say, but only come up with lame- it seems to you – one liners. Offer me a glass of red wine – because it’s complementary. Watch me accept it with a smile, because of what it represents. Be too shy to make conversation. Be sort of relieved when your phone rings. Leave, not looking back.

Find me in a book store.

In May. Hear me ask about book you’ve read on subjects you find interesting. Chime in, trying to recommend me titles. Hear me answer every question with a ‘no’. Realize I’m not that smart. Dump on the counter the books you’ve been holding from me, say goodbye with just a nod. Leave, not looking back.

A touch of beginnings

April unlocked the door and let herself in, nearly tripping over some box.

She’s been in Boston for nearly two months, but she still hadn’t unpack except the things she needed – spring clothes, shoes, two plates and a few forks and knives. The only boxes she completely unpacked were the biggest six ones, filled with books. She didn’t buy any other furniture than what was already in the apartment, figuring she didn’t want to invest in a place that wasn’t her own.

She took a bag of cereals from the counter in the kitchen and just stood in the middle of it, leaning on the cupboard, taking a few flakes from the bag to ease her hunger. She eyed an unopened bottle of wine and her newest obsession, in the form of a green book by Alain de Botton. She seriously thought about staying in, getting a little tipsy and crawling on the couch, finishing her book, but she did want to go out. It was Friday night after all and after many complaints to Mark as to how she had no friends in Boston, he decided to introduce her at least to the people from work he knew better.

And this was also the night she had a date, with the somewhat cute real estate agent that had gotten her the apartment. And she figured – if the date was that bad, she could always escape by saying she had to be at this ‘work thing’.

She changed her dress, put on some lipstick and a touch of perfume and went out the door.

Consequences

[All this is part of a large story; all characters and situations are the product of my imagination].

 

He entered the bedroom, stopping at the sight of April’s lower half coming out very nicely from beneath the pile of clothes.

“Argh!” , she let out, desperately, as she jumped on her feet, trying to drag out her coat from underneath.

“That’s a new look for you!”, he said, amused, startling her.

“Ugh!” April tried to fix her hair a bit and sat on the bed, still holding her coat.

He approached the bed and started looking for his and his date’s coats. After a few minutes of digging, in which he and April kept making fun of people’s choice of clothing, they had found what he was looking for. Still, neither of them made any move toward the exit. They sat in silence for a few moments, each playing with the coats in their lap.

“She’s very nice”, April finally talked. “Amanda, I mean.”

“Yeah, I got that you were talking about her”, he chuckled nervously. “I’m glad you…like her!”

“How did you two…meet?”

“She had…a crush on me…from TV!”

“Where do you come up with these stories?”

“No seriously. She has like…five brothers and they are all sports fans. She knows more about football than I…she kinda…keeps her TV only on ESPN. I did a couple of shows this summer, replacing this guy who was vacationing…she watched them and recognized me. She’s a waitress at this bar I went to with some friends from college…we started talking…I asked for her number…”

“Wow…so simple!”

“Yeah…turns out, I like simple, lately.”

“How long have the two of you…”

“Umm…almost a month now…I guess…Are you…are you seeing anyone?” he questioned, not really wanting to know the answer.

“No!” she chuckled. “I gave that up for a while…I think I should…just be on my own…at least for some time. That also means no dating…at all.”

He smiled and nodded.

“Hey. Any luck finding them?” Amanda interrupted their conversation as she entered the room, not being really sure about what was going on there.

“The coats! Yes.” He answered, as he held them up so that Amanda could see that hiss mission was successful. “I would offer you a ride, but…” he explained, after Amanda got dressed and was waiting for him by the front door.

“Don’t worry about it”, April interrupted him, holding up her hand and shaking her head no. “I’ll catch a cab…or something”.

“Ok. Good night.”

“Hey”, she called after him after a moment.

“Yeah?”, he answered as he half turned to face her.

“TV suits you. You should do more shows. You were very natural.”

He thanked her, surprised. “Since when do you watch sports?”

“I don’t. I watched you.”

He had no response to that. He nodded goodbye and left, leaving her in the half lit bedroom, all alone.

 

On love of books and books on love

I’ve just finished reading one of the best books out there. Actually, dare I say it, maybe the book I’ve learned the most from, up there with Theater of the Mind and Paradox of Love.

Alain de Botton’s “Consolations of Philosophy” offers real answers to everyday life questions and more, it gives you power (not consolation, as the title says) to understand your environment.  From Socrates’ somewhat tragic public life to Schopenhauer’s theory on love and relationship and Nietzsche’s metamorphosis.

In the end, after years and years of being a true addict and follower of Schopenhauer’s theories, Nietzsche’s perspective changed so much, urging him to say that the late philosopher was nothing but a ‘shy deer’.

As for the title, de Botton was inspired by “Consolation of Philosophy”, written by Boethius around year 524. This book was first to formulate the idea that ‘love makes the world go round’.

I have a girl crush, I have a girl crush

Or another one, at least. I’m so much into the rebel slash romantic slash crazy but somewhat vulnerable girl that I want and at least try to be, that I get instant crushes on women who seem that way. Brit Marling is an amazing talented writer slash actress and her style and type of stories is amazingly close to mine.

I instantly fell in love with Another Earth. So check it out, when you have the time. Great movie about possibilities and consequences.

Running into an ex

April was flipping through a book, reading a few lines here and there. She kept turning the book, looking at the price written on the back, biting her lower lip. She couldn’t make up her mind at all. She did some mental math, calculating her finances, than put the book down, deciding it was too expensive. A hand that came from somewhere in the back picked up the book again and read the title.

“Pascal Bruckner – The Paradox of Love?!”

She turned around and felt her heart pounding in her chest. There he was, eyebrows raised, questioning her about her choice of literature, looking more ravishing than ever, in jeans, a white shirt with a blue tie and a dark blue blazer with the sleeves pulled up by his elbows.

“It‟s an internationally acclaimed book. And it‟s too expensive for me. But what are you doing at a book fair? Are you lost?” she smirked, batting her eyelashes.

“Ha, ha, funny. No, I‟m looking for something on TV journalism; I slept through that course in college and I can‟t seem to find any literature I might have from then. And this book‟s like…22,99. What did you do, spent all your money on shoes?”

“No”, April frowned and crossed her arms. “I just have some extra spendings this month. I‟ll get it in December, everything‟s cheaper at Christmas. Or I‟ll find some Black Friday deal, whatever.”

“Maybe it‟ll be gone until then…”

“I think I‟ll take my chances.”

But while April was trying to emphasize that she has time to get it, he had already taken out his wallet and was buying her the book.

“Wait, what are you doing?” she tried to stop him.

“Why take chances when you can have it when you want it?” Were they still talking about the book? He handed her the book smiling, but she didn‟t take it right away. “Take it, really. It‟s the least I can do. You don‟t have anything from me, I didn‟t even get you a birthday present…”

“We weren‟t really…best buddies on my birthday”, she noted.

“Well, yeah”, he went on, “but you bought me a present for my birthday and we‟d only been dating for two weeks or so…so…I have to get you something…Think of it as a belated birthday gift….six months later…” he grinned.

She was still just looking at him, trying to understand whether he was acting upon a hidden agenda or something, but she couldn‟t sense anything there.

“Fine, don‟t take it”, he said as he started pretending to be reading the summary on the back. “This should be a nice bed time reading…”

April snapped and took it from his hand with a sudden move. “I didn‟t say I don‟t want it! Thank you, it‟s very nice what you just did and I appreciate it.”

“See? Now that‟s much better!” he laughed.

The tension between them was starting to feel a bit too much to handle. April was the first to talk, breaking their nervous laughs.

“So….I‟m going to….” April pointed towards the exit.

“Yeah, I should, too”.

“Ok, well…thanks for the book.”

“You‟re…welcome…and…”

“And….see you around…” He turned around to leave, but she closed her eyes, bit her lip and tried to stop him. This was insane; no one said they couldn‟t be friends…

“Would you like to…do you have to be somewhere?”

“I have to be at work in a couple of hours…”

“You‟re working on Saturdays now?”

“Yeah, um…no, a colleague needed a shift change….and I kinda got bored of playing basketball every Saturday…”

She smiled and nodded. He changed his habits. That was something she didn‟t expect. Maybe what-s-her-name…Amanda, had something to do with it?

“I was thinking…I wanted to get something to eat and…maybe I could buy you lunch…as a thank you..for…for the book…”

He looked at her for a few seconds, trying to decide whether accepting her invitation was a good idea or not. He thought to himself that saying „yes‟ would probably be one of the worst ideas he‟s ever had.

“Fine. But I‟m paying”.

30 de ani

Sta inconjurat de cartile sale, munti de carti, unele ingalbenite, altele noi si altele simple scrieri de doi bani ale unor ilustri necunoscuti. I se pare ca lumina din camera este calda, ca inghesuiala ii da intimitate si ca pe intreaga incapere si-a pus amprenta. Lampa inalta de langa fotoliu a inceput sa rugineasca, dar nu ii pasa.

Fiecare zi curge la fel, fiecare pas este construit cu mult inainte. Se trezeste, se spela, ia micul dejun si pleaca la facultate. Corpul sau urmeaza zilnic un plan mecanic, stabilit de aproape 30 de ani, in timp ce mintea sa se simte straina de tot ceea ce este lumesc si deruleaza secole intregi de idei.

Se crede deasupra tuturor si intregul sau discurs din spatele catedrei are acea usoara aroganta a oratorilor care se adreseaza plebei. Un fel de Pitagora care se incapataneaza sa predea din spatele unei perdele, crezand ca invataceii nu sunt inca demni sa-l vada.

Mandria si caracterul sau introvertit devin in sine un paradox de care este perfect constient si care ii confera si mai multa aroganta. Se crede superior, un zeu mult mai presus de viata pe Pamant. In mersul sau prin campus, in felul cum intra in sala de curs, in modul in care le spune studentilor ca au gresit, in modul in care isi prezinta tezele in fata editurilor, care vad flacara de geniu, dar de aceasta data stiu ca atatea idei fara niciun fir narativ nu o sa prinda niciodata.

Ii asculta mereu, le vede zambetele stanjenite si se simte din nou superior. Pentru ca ei toti nu fac decat sa ii intareasca sentimentul de fire neinteleasa, de fericit al soartei. Si in fiecare seara ajunge acasa, aprinde lampa si se cufunda mereu in alta carte, una care ii sprijina convingerile, una de care poate sa se agate atunci cand imperiul sau din hartie este luat de vant.

Cand este macinat de singurate si indoiala, se uita in partea speciala a bibliotecii, unde isi vede realizarile. Diplome, premii, certificate de onoare. Carti publicate, sesiuni de autografe, oameni carora le-a zdruncinat intregul set de valori, alte manuscrise obscure, idei nepublicate, ganduri ce nu o sa fie lecturate niciodata. Viata sa intreaga este un manuscris, sustinerea unei teze inoculate inca de pe vremea adolescentei si in fiecare seara adoarme cu multumirea ca si-a implinit menirea, ca viata sa a fost mai valoroasa decat a celorlalti si ca mostenirea lasata de el este mai puternica decat a celor care se multumesc doar cu cativa urmasi biologici.

Are nevoie de cei ca Platon, Kant, Nietzsche si Kierkegaard, despre care stie sigur ca au lasat in urma lor o urma mult mai importanta decat oricine altcineva, tocmai pentru ca s-au dedicate celibatului, respingand orice urma de sentiment. Stie sigur ca asta este calea spre cele mai inalte culmi ale ideilor. Este adeptul lui Stuart Mill care spunea ca placerile intelectuale sunt mai puternice ca durata si intensitate decat cele carnale si stie ca nu ar fi ajuns, asemenea lor,  nemuritor prin idei daca ar fi fost si EA alaturi.

Dar in unele seri, nu alege nicio carte de pe raft. Iar lumina nu i se pare atat de calda, ci obositoare. Premiile si onorurile i se par doar clipe efemere, care nu au nicio valoare in timp, iar povestile din carti doar o modalitate de a trai prin altcineva. Si in acele seri, stinge lampa si aprinde proiectorul. Si se uita la pozele ei, de-a lungul timpului. Unele vechi, daruite chiar de ea si altele mai noi, pe care nu stie ca el le are. In fata ochilor i se deruleaza o poveste. Ea, fericita, mereu surazatoare. Ea, inconjurata de dorinte pamantesti, de bucurii marunte. Ea, in ziua nuntii ei. Ea cu copii si ea la nunta lor. La fel de tanara, nemuritoare, mereu fericita si zambitoare. Ii urmareste povestea si de fiecare data observa ceva nou. Stie ca putea fi el cel de langa ea si doar pentru o clipa se intreaba “cum ar fi fost”. Zambeste cinic si priveste sfidator, urandu-se pentru o clipa, urandu-si partea din el care inca a ramas umana si urandu-si regretele.

Pentru ca in mintea sa, idealul sau nu putea fi realizat cu ea alaturi. S-ar fi pierdut in lucruri mundane, iar ideile sale ar fi ramas ponosite, intr-un sertar al mintii sale, un sertar a carui cheie ar fi fost aruncata in ziua in care ar fi spus “Da”.

“E foarte simplu să (te) minţi. E destul să spui: ‘Nu regret nimic, nu mă doare nimic, nu-mi lipseşte nimic, mă culc liniştit, a trecut de 11 noaptea’. E foarte simplu. Hai, curaj! Pe dracu’.

(written for a contest)

Guide to enhance your creativity 101. Lesson 1: READ

During these past few years I’ve made a point in only reading high quality books. 1. Because I have this need to know things. 2. Because I’m snobbish like that. I did love it and I keep loving it. That was something about Kafka that made me want so much to understand what was going on in his head that made him come up with such intriguing narrative flows like The Castel.

But deep down inside I know I’m a chick flick (with a catch) kinda girl. I’ve denied my “awww” moments for too long and alternating is amazing. So I’ve bought something new, something modern that isn’t really blue: Marc Levy’s Et si c’était vrai…Well, not in French, but still.

Having seen “Just Like Heaven”, the hollywood-esqe adaptation, I knew I wanted to read this. Because I have a thing for watching the movie and reading the book, in random order. Did that with a whole series of books, like Wuthering Heights (the Ralph Finnes – Juliette Binoche version), The Name of the Rose and so on.

Marc Levy’s book…well…it was cute. It was just the novel to read going to and coming from places, in the subway. It’s short, it’s easy and it’s cute. Having seen the movie before, I had Reese Witherspoon’s smile in mind and Mark Ruffalo’s brooding ways.

It looks like this time big Hollywood studios cut all the unnecessary details in Levy’s book, including the really creepy ones (like the implication of Arthur having to take care of Lauren’s bodily functions) or some major plots, like the cop one. Also, I much prefer David’s (main character’s name in the motion picture) dead wife than Arthur’s dead mother, in the book. No boys with mommy tragedies, please. Also, it appears the screenwriters decided Lauren/Elizabeth ‘s ghost (or something close) has different abilities. That was also fine by me, because having sex with a ghost is…no! Really, no!

All in all, great read. And cute. The type of book you’d take on a vacation, on some beachy places, to read while working on your tan, if you’re looking for a nice, romantic, not so angsty book, with good writing.

Forgot to mention a little something. A few days ago I’ve read on a blog a few lines that stuck with me, only to discover Marc Levy used that same metaphor in his book.

“Imagine you had a special bank account opened just for you, and in the morning when you wake up, you will have $86,400 deposited into that bank.  You have 24 hours to spend it before it’s all deleted. The next day will be the same process, and this will happen to you for the rest of your life!. The dollars represent the 86,400 seconds in each day”.

So yeah, this book taught me something too.

Scufita Rosie in modern times

A fost odata ca niciodata…o masina de spalat stricata.

Mama scufitei se plimba impacientata prin casa. Se uita cand la ceas, cand la telefon, cand la fii-sa, care savura linistita o inghetata in fata televizorului. Ridica receptorul, pentru ca in clipa urmatoare sa il puna din nou in furca si sa ofteze, frustrata.

In spatele ei, un maldar de haine, aruncate peste tot, haine de barbat. Nu mai stia ce sa mai faca, incercase toate tertipurile, dar nu-l prinsese pe nenorocit. Stia ca o insala si mai stia si ca mama lui il acopera. Of, de si-ar fi ascultat ratiunea care i-a spus de atata ori sa nu se marite cu “baiatul mamei”, mai ales ca atunci viitoarea soacra nici n-o avea la inima, iar sentimentele nu s-au schimbat pana in ziua de astazi. Inca era uimita de cat de mult o iubea batrana pe Scufita, avand in vedere ca fata ii semana leit. Iar cu acest gand, ii veni o idee salvatoare.

“Scufito.! Scufito! Ia vin’ la mama putin”.

Fata se executa imediat.

“Nu-I asa ca ti-i dor de bunicuta?”

“Nu cine stie ce, ca n-are televizor si la 14:00 dau astia Rocky IV pe Pro Cinema.”

Mama ii arunca o privire taioasa.

“Ei, hai lasa, ca te-ntorci la timp. Nu stai la palavre, vreau doar sa-I duci…aaa….” , femeia se uita panicata in jur. “Sa-I duci….cateva prajituri.”

Scufita lingea plictisita din inghetata. “Face prajituri mai bune ca ale tale”. In clipa urmatoare si-a dat seama ca a gandit cu voce tare si a incercat s-o dreaga, numai ca mama ei nu avea chef de linguseli si nici ca-I pasa de prajiturile “aleia”.

“A fost Sambata Mortilor, hai du-te, ca-I pacat.”

“Bineeee. Dar daca pierd Rocky sa stii ca te pun sa mi-l cumperi pe DVD.”

Mama i-a dat fetei un cos cu cateva prajituri arse si foarte urate, zambind printre dinti, foarte fericita. Stia ca batrana il acoperea pe fi-su si ca acum el se afla la ea, cu vreuna pe care o agatase te miri de pe unde. Oricat ar fi cautat prin buzunare si oricat ar fi privit cu lupa gulerul camasilor, barbat-su isi acoperea prea bine urmele de infidelitate. Si desi nu avusese nicio dovada clara in sensul asta, intuitia ei feminina si show-urile lui Jerry Springer ii spuneau ca omul are o amanta. Asa ca cel mai bun plan ar fi s-o trimita pe fiica-sa, chipurile cu prajituri, sa-I surprinda in timpul actului. Nu-si mai facea probleme din cauza unor posibile sechele psihologice cu care ar putea ramane fata. Filmele ii spalasera destul de bine creierul.  Si pentru ca planul ei sa aiba succes, mama se hotari s-o camufleze intr-un costum complet verde, ca padurea in care se gasea casa.

Mama se apuca din nou sa ravaseasca incaperile, in cautarea costumului de camuflaj. Numai ca la scurt timp si-a dat seama ca-l pusese la spalat cu o zi in urma, dar uitase sa scoata rufele la intins.

“Nuuu….$%^$&%**#@$!!!!”, izbucni mama nervoasa. “Si doar am pus Calgon de fiecare data!!!”

Cel mai probabil din cauza unei depuneri de calcar, masina cedase si cetrifuga facuse franjuri toate hainele bagate la spalat. “Acum cu ce o mai imbrac pe asta? Planul meu….”

Dupa cateva momente…

“Sunt o tomata imensa”, spuse sec Scufita. “De ce nu pot sa ma imbrac normal?”

“Ca vreau sa-I faci o surpriza bunicutei. O sa se bucure, o sa vezi!”, mintea mama, fara pic de rusine.

“Si…in ce lume paralela o rosie imensa se plimba prin padure incognito?”

Arata deplorabil. Costumul fusese cumparat in urma cu cativa ani, pe cand micuta Scufita facuse o pasiune pentru Lord of The Rings si voia neaparat sa fie hobbit de Halloween. Bluza ii ramasese mica si ii ieseau in evidenta toate noptile petrecute in fata televizorului cu o cutie de inghetata pe genunchi. Desi avea numai 12 ani, Scufita se pregatea sa imite perfect dimensiunea adolescentilor din filmele americane ce ii placeau atat de mult.

Mama o impinse pe usa afara.

“Hai pleaca, ca piezi Rocky si nu mai am bani de tampenii. Vezi sa nu uite bunicuta sa zica ‘Bogdaproste’ cand ii dai merindele da?”

“Merinde?” Scufita dadu ochii peste cap. “In ce secol traiesti?”

Mama ii inchise usa in fata, asa ca micuta Scufita acum Rosie nu mai putu decat sa maraie printre dinti si sa plece. Drumul catre bunicuta era foarte lung si nu era niciun magazin pe poteci. Isi scoase iPod-ul si-si puse castile in urechi.

 

It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the cream of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watchin’ us all in the eye of the tiger