“Everything is maya, nothing is real.”
– Sri Shantibindo
I opened one of my diaries from the seventies, which seemed real enough, dust & slightly musty smell and all, and read bits and pieces about things I’d done, read, seen, felt, about people I’d spent time with, now mostly having a hard time to put a face to their name. Back then I’d felt compelled to write this stuff down, to prevent a lengthy recherche du temps perdu for sure. Perhaps I’d had vague thoughts of one day writing my own search of lost time based on these details. Except that their primary effect now was to bore me, so that I closed the diary after a few minutes.
But maybe I’m given to boredom too easily. Even Proust had the same effect on me when I picked up À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, bought at the train station in Brive-la-Gaillarde, hoping it would get me through several hours of waiting for a night train.
The small station was mostly quiet in the evening. I ate the sandwich I’d bought earlier, washed it down with a bottle of beer and picked up the book, which held my attention for maybe fifteen minutes. I consulted the ending to determine whether it was worth wading through the rest and decided it wasn’t. The book is on my shelf to this very day – I’ve made several other attempts to read it since then, taking glimpses here and there – always with the same result. This record of time lost is so sprawling it indeed seems time lost, and I’m not going to lose any of mine on it.
But of the evening in Brive-la-Gaillarde I remember, without consulting a diary, that later on I watched a drunk and very agitated woman of about 25 spitting on the floor in the narrow passage to the platforms to demonstrate her displeasure with the man who had gone through there, leaving her after a long, loud argument punctuated with excited gestures and numerous expletives. She spat until she had the whole passage well covered.
Enough said about time, and the retrieval of its remnants. It’s all maya.
– Niebla (© 2020)