Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Memento I

The heat woke me up today, again. Uncomfortable in my own sweaty flesh and unable to open my eyes, I took a quick shower and dozed off for a while until mid noon. It was 1 o'clock when I took my camera and left the house in a frantic state -  gasping for breath, and still feeling a bit dizzy. Going out in high afternoon was not a good idea at all, but I'd be a human casserole with an overcooked brain by the end of the day if I remained at home. Everyone is out of town and the air inside is too hot and stale to be reading books alone. 

Besides, I needed to take a trip to my grandma's house as I had been avoiding her plants for a whole week. I decided to walk and look around as much as I could to kill time. If the plants did survive the week without water, they could as well hold on for a few more hours.

Heat in the city is unbearable. You cannot feel or think of anything else. Concrete walls blow off hot air, asphalt burns your feet. The sweat drops off from your forehead into your eyes and all you can see are flickering lights in the distance as you squint in desperation. You feel like walking in a Kafkaesque daydream - although he was stuck in a cold hobbit house in Prague his whole life, of course, and never saw or wrote about long unbearable summers.

Which reminds me of Camus' Meursault, by far the most liquid character in Western literature. Living in the everyday, he can get used to anything. In prison, he felt that "if (he) had had to live in the trunk of a dead tree, with nothing to do but look up at the sky flowing overhead, little by little (he) would have gotten used to it." But that evil sun on the beach had made a murderer out of him: 

"The trigger gave; I felt the smooth underside of the butt; and there, in that noise, sharp and deafening at the same time, is where it all started. I shook off the sweat and sun. I knew that I had shattered the harmony of the day, the exceptional silence of a beach where I'd been happy. Then I fired four more times at the motionless body where the bullets lodged without leaving a trace. And it was like knocking four quick times on the door of unhappiness."

If modern being is quintessentially absurd, then living in a hot city must be the utmost limit of the absurd experience. The Greek, of course, knew better about the burning sun and wrote raving tragedies instead of existentialist mumbo-jumbo.

Another day, just breathe:

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