Well, only two years after I started, I've finished all of Remembrance of Things Past
(better called In Search of Lost Time
) as I reached the big "The End" on page 358 of Time Regained. He spent the last 15-20 pages talking about how he was afraid he'd die before he finished his life work, and I was feeling like I was cheering him on as he was trying to race against his own bad health to get to the finish line. "You can do it, Marcel! In fact, you did it! We're all here waiting for you -- just a few more steps!"
It's really been a great read - I can't say it's changed my life, but in many ways it's changed how I perceived thing, and not just because I get jokes about madeleines, insomnia,and cork-lined rooms. The best bit has been this appreciation of really intense moments of timelessness, when everything around me comes together and I feel both so alive and so entirely out of time, like the things that are happening to me have always happen and will continue to happen and I'm just experiencing a tiny, perfect, repeatable moment in the endless sea of Time. Skies will cloud over, spring flowers will fade and fall, even I will be gone one day, but a perfect day in spring, or autumn, or summer, or winter, they will all happen again and in experiencing one perfect instant of them I am, in effect, experiencing them all. I know this sounds like some pretty serious hippie shit, but it does happen to me and it's Proust that made me recognize them (plus my sum total of other life experiences all welling up at the same time).
Sadly I haven't had any moments like this recently - they happen when they happen (and require a full dose of Be Here Now, which is sometimes in short supply for me). Instead I'll mention the rest of my day, as boring in its minutiae as ever, but an ongoing accretion of Things That Make Me Me.
1. Today's lesson: be aware of when the time changes are going to happen and make sure you set your alarm clock properly if you're travelling on that day. If this had been the spring changeover, I would have been screwed this morning. Instead, I got up too early (and yet still barely made it to the airport on time, no thanks to the Time Out guides shit transpo maps and poor information about getting to the airport).
2. Yummy new food item: "Secreto Catalan" (I think), which is a cut of pork from the back of the pig's neck - very buttery and soft. Incorrectly named food item: "Ensalada Fantasia," as my fantasies never involve a food item covered with thin slices of raw salmon. Yuck.
3. The flamenco concert was a lot of fun. El Capullo de Jerez
was J's favorite of the evening, and likely mine (the other singer being Remedios Amaya, video of the two of them performing here
, only when the egotistical "El Farruco," a dancer who was reminding me of a cross between Liberace and Michael Jackson, got his 10 year old son out there to cut the rug with him, I was so stupendously moved by his skill at such a young age (plus the whole "mini-me" thing going on, I kept laughing) that I stood up and cheered - with the rest of the Barcelonans. That said, listening to Capullo de Jerez singing these old songs with this backdrop of these creepy Art Nouveau maidens coming out of the walls behind him in the Palau de Musica was really something - it's like the ghosts were listening to him perform.
We brought home three bottles of booze, two bottles of cider, three bottles of wine, two new handpainted earthenware bowls for serving food in, and three packages of tea, so it was a pretty good haul for a weekend, and it was a nice and fairly relaxing time. We got in early (noon) and I've managed to not just get home but also get up the street to meet wechsler
's sister (husband and baby too). Now I'm roasting up a chicken and I am hungry! There may have been a time change but my stomach thinks it's time to eat now. At least the cat is happy to have us home again.