Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

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Ahh, look at all the lonely people…

March 29, 2010

Douglas Coupland reminds me of Augusten Burroughs (his wit and abstract sense of humor) and Chuck Palahniuk (story telling time sequences and whatnot) in one. Therefore, he is making his way on to the list of my favorite authors. I’ve read 4 books by him now, my most recent book of his will be the subject of this entry. It’s about a lonely woman, to say the very least. Once I finished this book on a Saturday morning, postponing my much-needed shower just so I could see how it ended, I missed Liz Dunn so much. I still miss her.

Excerpt #60:
One of my big problems is time sickness. When I feel lonely, I assume that the mood will never pass – that I’ll feel lonely and bad for the rest of my life, which means that I’ve wrecked both the present and the future. And if I look back on my past, I wreck that too, by concentrating on all the things I did wrong. The brutal thing about time sickness is that naming it is no cure.
I look at the philodendron on the kitchen windowsill, the only thing in my condo that never changes. I found it at a bus stop twelve years ago and I’ve kept it going ever since. I like it because up close its leaves are pretty, and also because it makes me think of time in a way that doesn’t totally depress me.
If I could go back in time two decades and give just one piece of advice to a younger me, it would be, “Don’t worry so damn much.” But because young people never believe old people, I’d most likely ignore my own advice.
If there’s a future Liz Dunn out there in, say, 2034, may I respectfully ask you to time travel back to right now and give me the advice I need? I promise you, I’ll listen, and I’ll give you a piece of my philodendron to take back with you so you can grow your own plant there. (12)

Excerpt #61:
The boys were bored and, like us, jet lagged. The Vatican trip felt forced and dutiful. It made us wonder if Rome had the equivalent of a Playboy Mansion that was deliberately being concealed from us. We stood there like dock pilings, waiting and waiting and waiting for this little white dot of a man to come out onto a balcony and do something with his hands while his amplified voice frightened pigeons and reminded us that we were hungry and that the morning’s cafe latte and croissant ha long since been metabolized. (65)

Excerpt #62:
I wish modern science would invent a drug that causes time to feel much longer, the way it felt when you were a child. What a great drug. A year would feel like a year, not ten minutes. Your adulthood would feel long and full instead of like some out-of-control carnival ride. Who would want a drug like this? Older people, I’d guess – people whose sense of passing time has hit the acceleration pedal.
And I guess they ought to also invent a drug capable of the opposite effect. Again, there’d be no immediate sensation, but after a year of the drug you’d say, Wow! Has it been a year already? It feels like just yesterday. Who’d take that drug? Me, when I’m lonely, And prisoners with life sentences.
Here’s a third notion: what if you had to choose just one of these drugs? And what if taking one would instantly cancel out any effect you might get from the other? I imagine most of us, myself included, would take the one that makes life feel longer. Which means that a lonely life is still better than no life at all. (73-74)

Excerpt #63:
We drove to the station in Rainer’s car, with me up front, Klaus in the back, silent and grimacing out the window. There were clouds of pigeons, flocks of Japanese tourist, and masonry so ornate and delicate that it seemed to be dreaming. (227)

Eleanor Rigby, Douglas Coupland