Archive for July, 2008

At the Flea Market

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Father at the flea market

True bargainers deal behind the bench.

[My father, interested in an old weighing scale, Berlin, June 2008]

Regret

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

As I was ordering my books today I saw a book that makes me smile and feel a great regret every time I look at it. We usually regret things that we did and hurt someone, or things that we did not do and could give pleasure to someone, but this strange story does not belong to these two categories.

Christmas 1999 was approaching and I wanted to buy a present for my girlfriend that was living at that time in an other city. Some months before, a fellow student had shown to me a nice book that had fascinated him; it was Minotaurus by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. He was very impressed by it and his description attracted my interest. As my girlfriend was a person with nice taste in literature, I thought of buying this book for her (although I had not read it, but I liked every play by Dürrenmatt that I had seen).

But time limitations —or rather idleness— pushed me to forget totally this idea and prepare a self made present.

The day came and I visited her. I gave my present to her and she gave me hers. I opened it and you can imagine my surprise discovering that her present was Minotaurus by Friedrich Dürrenmatt…

We had never mentioned that book before. Making the same present would have been one of those extremely rare coincidences that make life seem magic. This perfection had been spoiled by an unjustified inactivity and this is what I regret. It is a strange sort of regretting, because I smile every time I think of it. If the event of the double present had been realised, then the feeling would have been symmetric; both would have been astonished. Now it was only on one side.

That’s how it is with experiencing a non provable rare event. The feelings that is causes cannot be shared, in contrast to joy or sorrow. Either it is a common experience and therefore magic or it remains strictly personal.