Wednesday, June 20, 2007


The next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest, of the summer. As my train emerged from the tunnel into sunlight, only the hot whistles of the National Biscuit Company broke the simmering hush at noon...

"Hot!" said the conductor to familiar faces. "Some weather! ... Hot! ... Hot! ... Hot! ... Is it hot enough for you? Is it hot? Is it? ..."

My commutation ticket came back to me with a dark stain from his hand. That anyone should care in this heat whose flushed lips he kissed, whose head made damp the pyjama pocket over his heart!

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
It took me an unusually long time to find that quote, in the end I had to look at every page of the book until I spotted it. The difficulty lay in my pictorial memory for words: I remembered that the episode was in the first inch of so of a left-hand page about three-fifths of the way through, and so I searched in my usual manner by fixing my eyes on that position and flipping the pages with my thumb. I didn't find the quote, because I had mis-remembered how it sat on the page. The start of the quote, the paragraph that begins "The next day..." is actually in the lower middle of the previous, right-hand, page; the position I'd remembered is of the line "That anyone should care..." which is why I couldn't find it. After flipping back and forth twice I happened to recognize the end of the quote where I'd been searching for its beginning, and so found it.

As you may have inferred from that preamble, it is hot. The temperature is currently over thirty degrees in the valley; the sun is beating mercilessly down on the dusty streets, and the humidity is high. Nasty weather. I treated myself to an iced coffee on the shady terrace of the Kunstmuseum while walking downtown (officially doing some shopping; in truth wasting time in idleness and frivolity).

In other news the Lioness wrote
you know what Judaism is abt at its core?, it's abt truth, it's abt being able to take a good look at ourselves, it's abt making decisions and OWNING THEM, fucking owning all of them, the good ones and especially the bad ones, everything else is cowardice, no amount of davening or Torah will help us if we're not willing to face the crud in our bellybuttons and the rottenness in our wake
Well said; but it's actually a defining practice of maturity not just of Judaism. Substitute your own practices for "davening" and your own belief-carriers for "Torah" and it applies to any religion worthy of the name. "My mess, my fault" one might well say.

In other, other news I am about to shower for the second time today, before meeting Princess for dinner al fresco. I hate this weather.

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Anonymous May said...

Enjoy the dinner!
Hopefully this time it'll be just the two of you.

June 20, 2007 at 9:27:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

Thank you. We did; it was.

June 21, 2007 at 1:33:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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