Thursday, May 09, 2019

The personal shopping cart is a name for solitude

I'm reading Happy Are the Happy (Yasmina Reza) in the metro and feeling down, because it's cutting and harsh, if sharp. And I imagine somebody asking me what it's about, and I would say it's about husbands and wives, and mothers and sons, and lovers, and it's not about happiness at all, none of them are happy, everything is dissolving.

But maybe that's what it means to be happy: to dissolve, when the past and the future dissolve.
Apologize, she says. If she said Apologize in her normal voice, I might comply, but she whispers, she gives the word a colorless, atonal inflection I can't get past. I say, please. I remain calm. Please, I say mildly, and I see myself driving down a highway at top speed, stereo turned all the way up, and I'm listening to a song called "Sodade," a recent discovery I understand nothing of except for the solitude in the singer's voice and the word solitude itself, repeated countless times, even though I'm told sodade doesn't actually mean solitude, but nostalgia, absence, regret, spleen, so many intimate things that can't be shared, and all of them names for solitude, just as the personal shopping cart is a name for solitude, and so is the oil and vinegar aisle, and so is the man pleading with his wife under the fluorescent lights.

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