Friday, March 22, 2013

There Never Was Such An Animal



You're not like the others. I've seen a few; I know. When I talk, you look at me. When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night. The others would never do that. The others would walk off and leave me talking. Or threaten me. No one has time any more for anyone else. You're one of the few who put up with me."
(Note: The world is getting busier each day, and we discreetly explore the outer limits of our peripheral vision to find someone who would put up with us, the good and the bad, without being judgemental. It involves a lot of luck.)

He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often--he searched for a simile, found one in his work--torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people's faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?” 
(Note: In my relatively short life, I had met only one person who mirrored my innate and well-concealed restlessness, but I didn't stick around to find out more. It intimidated me.)

"I feel I'm doing what I should've done a lifetime ago. For a little while I'm not afraid. Maybe it's because I'm doing the right thing at last. Maybe it's because I've done a rash thing and don't want to look the coward to you."
(Note: For a little while we lose the fear. Just for a little while.)

Are you happy?
(Note: Yes. But I am afraid to think beyond what is obvious and within reach.)


"How do you get so empty? he wondered. Who takes it out of you? And that awful flower the other day, the dandelion! It had summed up everything, hadn’t it? ‘What a shame! You’re not in love with anyone!’ And why not?
(Note: Seriously, how?)

Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. see the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that . Shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.
(Note: Life's unpredictability scares me immensely if I take a moment to take it all in, but then where is the fun and thrill without the surprise bumps and bends in the road?)

I ate them like salad, books were my sandwich for lunch, my tiffin and dinner and midnight munch. I tore out the pages, ate them with salt, doused them with relish, gnawed on the bindings, turned the chapters with my tongue! Books by the dozen, the score and the billion. I carried so many home I was hunchbacked for years. Philosophy, art history, politics, social science, the poem, the essay, the grandiose play, you name 'em, I ate 'em.
(Note: I would religiously follow this diet for a lifetime. Just garnish it with some fiction. I don't mind the kyphosis either.)

But most of all, I like to watch people. Sometimes I ride the subway all day and look at them and listen to them. I just want to figure out who they are and what they want and where they are going. Sometimes I even go to Fun parks and ride in the jet cars when they race on the edge of town at midnight and the police don't care as long as they're insured. As long as everyone has ten thousand insurance everyone's happy. Sometimes I sneak around and listen in subways. Or I listen at soda fountains, and do you know what? People don't talk about anything.
(Note: Hmm. The last time I enjoyed talking to someone was exactly ninety-nine days ago. The rest of the umpteen conversations since then has coalesced into an indistinct lump of words. How many of us have real conversations and not vacuous daily updates?)

~Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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