Saturday, June 19, 2010

An afternoon spent laughing

-We'll start with a quotation of one of Barthes' parenthetical references which struck me:

(A squeeze of the hand -- enormous documentation -- a tiny gesture within the palm, a knee which doesn't move away, an arm extended, as if quite naturally, along the back of a sofa and against which the other's head gradually comes to rest -- this is the paradisiac realm of subtle and clandestine signs: a kind of festival not of the senses but of meaning.)

This is from A Lover's Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes, published in 1978. It's an amazing book. It describes in minute detail all the sensations of being in love, simultaneously from a detached philosophical perspective and from the perspective of one who has been in love. Barthes has been a lover, but is viewing love in a cold, dispassionate, academic manner. The juxtaposition of the two within the book is fascinating.

-The way it feels to wake up an hour before the real post-time, and put a pillow over your head, with utmost confidence that you'll be able to get back to sleep. So much confidence that you don't know you have confidence in it; you experience it as knowing you'll get back to sleep, as a fact. How many things can we really know with this kind of certainty? These moments are valuable when they happen, because they are so rare.

-Feeling of waking up in a cluttered, dirty apartment, wondering mostly why? Why bother with all this again? This feeling had passed by the time I was showered and getting dressed, but I remembered the panic there was in it. Not getting anywhere is what it felt like. This coffee cup I left on the corner of my desk was there when I went to bed last night, it is still here this morning; Nothing ever changes, nothing I do means anything. I don't know why the feeling passed so quickly but I was happy to let it go. Something in the bustle and work of getting dressed and ready to leave felt significant enough to reassure my nervous heart.

-Heaven help me, but the best thing I did yesterday was to let myself pass out at 11. I always wake up too early on Saturday anyways. This time I was prepared, though. Woke up at 6:30 feeling well rested, and I thought it had to be about 10 until I looked at the clock. Went back to sleep until 7:45, when I woke up with about 8 and a half hours of sleep under my belt (It's only 11:30 right now, and I've been up for four hours. What a lark!). It felt great, and it makes for a day of limitless potential, which I will now proceed to squander.

-Emptiness of the train seat that was full a minute before. Now, sun shines freely through a window that had been obstructed by the face of a stranger. She is gone now, to God knows where. I'm almost sad to see her seat unfilled. I had nothing to do with her, why do I grieve her absence? Is it that any trace of a loss hurts us as humans? Was it the way the light fell, that it just looked sad? I don't know, but it hurt me that she was gone. Human emotions are baffling.

[semi-appropriate lyrics that I was thinking about on the train while pondering the above incident:]

The person across from me, sitting in her train seat, reminded me of you.
And I looked out, past her cheeks, through the glass light conduit. The sun had sunk, disappeared into New Jersey; Oh why don't they have phones on these things?

What can I do? I'm stuck thinking about you.

Did you know my sweet, yeah that I once took the liberty of watching you in your sleep?

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