January 9, 2018

January 9

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 10:55 pm

It’s hard to get up in the cold darkness when the alarm goes off at 5:30 in the morning. This morning after Sam went to work I returned to bed and stayed there. The bedroom is the smallest room in the apartment and warms up with the little electric heater — I tell myself I’m saving fuel by not trying to heat the drafty living room with the kerosene heater, and I hate filling it. It’s hard not to dribble at least a little kerosene when pulling the plastic hose from the tank. I wonder if this is what it’s like to pee for a man. Besides, I had nothing particular to do today and Sam would be home late and didn’t need dinner. Why not stay cozy in bed and read all day? Of course I completed the usual menial household chores, just later in the day, but somehow Sam knew. “You didn’t do anything today, did you?” he accused me. I don’t understand how he could tell. Well, next time I’m going to do lots of laundry and move around the furniture to throw him off the scent.

Osamu Dazai, “Return to Tsugaru, Travels of a Purple Tramp”:

“I hoped to find my true identity in Tsugaru. … My theories are so muddled that I myself often cannot understand what I am saying. … It seems as if this is all some sort of transparent charade I’m perpetrating, and that idea is a thoroughly humiliating one. … But that evening I did not vent such clumsy ideas … and drank until very late with a pile of crab, that favorite food of mine, right in front of my eyes. N.’s wife … must have thought that I considered it too much of a bother to crack the shells and pick the meat, for she briskly set to and did it for me with great skill, heaping the delicious white meat on the shells. … Perhaps these crabs had been caught on the Kanita beach that very morning; they had the fresh, light taste of newly picked fruit. I was reminded of those fragrant cool jellies that are shaped like real fruits.

“Having had our water containers filled with sake, we started out in good cheer. … The roof of the temple had already come into sight when we met an old woman selling fish. The cart she was pulling was full and there was a great variety. I spotted a sea bream over half a meter long. … Our room looked out over the sea. It had begun to drizzle, and the sea was white and calm. … I pulled the wrapped-up fish out of my rucksack and gave it to the maid. ‘This is a sea bream. Broil it as it is, please, and then bring it back here.’ The maid did not look very bright. … Like me, N. seemed to have his misgivings about the maid. He called her back and explained once more. ‘Broil it as it is. There are three of us, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut it into three pieces. Remember! There’s no need to divide it into three equal portions.’ … While we were still joking to each other that in this case it had not been necessary to specify the exact number, the bream was served.

“N.’s instructions that it did not have to be cut into three identical sized pieces had produced an idiotic result: on an ordinary, off-white dish lay — without head, tail, or bones — five slices of broiled bream. I am not in the least fussy about food. I expect my readers will understand that I hadn’t bought such a big bream just because I wanted to eat it. I had wanted to admire it as it lay served on a big dish, broiled in its original shape. … I had wanted to feel that glow of luxury, sipping my sake and looking at the fish. … Looking at the five slices of grilled fish (this was no longer sea bream, merely grilled fish), piled unimaginatively on the dish, I felt like crying. … Where were the head and bones now? That big, splendid head — perhaps they had thrown it away! … N. chuckled. ‘But don’t you get the joke? When you tell them not to cut something into three pieces, they go and cut it into five. They’re comedians, these people, real comedians. Well, cheers, cheers, cheers!’ … Even now it exasperates me when I think of that sea bream. It was plain idiocy.”

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