Monday, September 22, 2008

The impossibility of Now (pt. I)

“Tried living in the real world, instead of a shell /
but before I began / I was bored / before I even began”
—The Smiths –
q.e.d. – as early as 1987

Breathe in, breathe out. Believe me, I try my very best to live a life in the present.

For example, I breathe, in and out, and even try faux-buddhist tricks like attending the air flow into one nostril and exhaling through the other. Yet, Now is a difficult and somewhat harrowing concept for me. As the future also carries only a limited appeal, all there remains is the past; or, so it seems:

1. A random day in London, where I used to live.
2. I buy a book on Dresden, 1945. I am not interested in the present city of Dresden.
3. I buy another book; on Stalingrad.
4. I buy a pair of trainers that are inspired by a 1970s Tennis hero.
5. I buy a book with short poems by W.G. Sebald, a dead writer, very obsessed himself with life and events preceding his own.
5b. I stop myself from also buying a sociologist account on Baader-Meinhof and the Weathermen, and how the 1960s student revolts went out of hand.
6. I buy a book by poet Wallace Stevens, not knowing him as of yet, but feeling a deep sense of doing the right thing as I learn that he died over 50 years ago.
7. I exchange text messages with a girl I used to know.

During all of this, I hallucinate a bittersweet smell in the air, having “better” written all over it, as I derail from my lame attempts to live in the present. I am not here. Here is somewhere else. Breathe in, breathe out.

Dieser Beitrag ist auf Englisch, doch einiges an der Zeitmauer gibt es auch in der hervorragenden Kultur- und Verwaltungssprache Deutsch zu lesen.

1 comment:

  1. Funny thing is: for me it's also hard to live in the present (not only the current present, if you know what I mean), I'm used to living in the future.
    The present is somehow more difficult than the future.
    That's actually a thought I had two weeks ago.
    Thought it's somehow related to your posting.
    Maybe we two should unite to tackle the present, average out, so to speak.

    Hugs from a friend


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