February 28.

Other people age with the same pace as we do ourselves. If we lost some years or feel like we did so, if we feel we are getting too old, and everything has already been said, and all attempts in life reduce to a vain spasm to postpone emptiness, if we feel all that we can still meet our old friends and look at them, ask them how they have done how they are doing, nodding at them serious nods, slow nods alluding to an understanding never reachable but always present in our imagination, we can have real encounters with “people from the past” and say hey wait a minute we are still dwelling in the same universe we get this feeling that we share something unspeakable the sentiment of having rolled out our lives in opposite directions yet under the same stars.

There are many people who travel. But I haven’t met anyone YET who goes away with the sole intention of recording the loneliness in other people’s minds by means of cultivating his very own loneliness. It is a plant that needs the water of separation. It is a plant that can give us meaning but also take away everything from us. It generates meaning ex-negativo. Being alone, I mean really indulging in solitude for a long time, with only a shimmering spark of the hope of ever meeting an other human being again is the strongest resource of meaning I can think of. And even if we don’t indulge in loneliness but only see it faintly in the corner of our eyes when we walk on in life, it still weaves our tissue of meaning with strong, hard knots and we better don’t unweave it in a naive attempt to overcome loneliness. Loneliness is too valuable an asset to give up easily.

A long gemütliches breakfast on a balcony under the Buenos Aires sky. A walk through the huge city, picking streets randomly. The park Centenario. A guy wants to sell us a homeless newspaper and gets pushy. We give him a few pesos but he keeps begging on. We say the no-me-moleste-code but he wouldn’t leave. A group is drumming, the jam is great we really like it the vino we bought tastes really bad the apples are good though. The drummer with the big drum has a bad posture his back is curved like a chicken wing. It is a hot day, swans in the lake, everything is clean and hot. Observations must not necessarily be special. The evening a train ride to suburbia, a garden party after that a famous beef restaurant in Buenos Aires. Huge portions served, good wine, good salat, a Dionysian atmosphere counterbalanced by splitting the bill apollonically centwise. A stranger’s party that we crash for the feel of it. A lot of Argentinians are around one barebreasted giant and a man with a cone-shaped beard and we dance after quenching our thirst with pure wodka from plastic cups. A long walk home, thirty blocks up the road. I slept like a baby, a bold dreamless sleep.

Jack has lost his inspiration. He stands around near the barbeque and tears some juiceless meat that is stuck in the rack to feed himself. He feeds on the leftovers from a barbeque of the anonymous in a Buenos Aires garden party. He doesn’t even talk to the women around him because he feels sad. He doesn’t know were this is coming from. He lies down in the dry green grass and looks at the hazy stars, he indulges in a sweet fantasy of loneliness because he cannot feel any real loneliness. The short timespans that are the pivots of his experience have no room for the long-lasting emotion of loss and seperation. The sentiment of real detachment cannot permeate the membrane of Jack’s mind. He takes some more meat, onions, fried eggplant with plenty of oregano, peppers and stripes of fat, he looks aside and smiles to the big man that lies his hand on Jack’s shoulder.
“You’re okay man?”
-“Yeah I guess so. A bit hungry but I have something to bite.”
Jack makes biting movements with his jaw-bones and looks at the man, doe-eyed. The man has a fascinating nose and a lot of hair. Jack feels the hand on his shoulder and hears the voice of the man it accesses him and he would stop feeling lonely would he have been able to feel lonely in the first place. But Jack feels something else. Unfortunately he is unable to express it. I have been thinking how we could help Jack. Perhaps we should make him realize that some surrogate loneliness has infiltrated in the seconds of his ongoing transformation. Some grains between the mill of his perceptive faculties that jams it so Jack feels a secondary loneliness, a derived loneliness, the exhaust of our grand loneliness, the residue of what we normals combust to deal with our loneliness. Jack is not pure. Not even him. And between us: that whole loneliness-thing gets on my nerves. I don’t feel like watching over Jack because he might get infected with some collateral damage of the footprint of our loneliness. We do not need to apologize for our way of life, yes Obama says that too. And we do not need to apologize for the consumerism, the ecologically catastrophical ways in which we erect all kind of edifices that have the sole task of proving that we are not alone. Because my words resonate in your mind, because our breath becomes visible like luminescent clouds of oily vapor escaping through the thin air in a far-off highway restaurant, because we are recognized by each other, because you get the necessary bits of recognition that fuels your mind and cause you to move on. And we certainly don’t have to apologize to Jack about this. Jack he doesn’t know a thing about life, he is an ignorant and conceited asshole. I want to kill him.

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Published by

Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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