Sunday, 22 March 2020

ALS: 'Misverstand'


Qu’il fasse beau, qu’il fasse laid, c’est mon habitude d’aller sur les cinq heures du soir me promener au Palais-Royal. C’est moi qu’on voit, toujours seul, rêvant sur le banc d’Argenson. Je m’entretiens avec moi-même de politique, d’amour, de goût ou de philosophie. J’abandonne mon esprit à tout son libertinage. Je le laisse maître de suivre la première idée sage ou folle qui se présente, comme on voit dans l’allée de Foy nos jeunes dissolus marcher sur les pas d’une courtisane à l’air éventé, au visage riant, à l’oeil vif, au nez retroussé, quitter celle-ci pour une autre, les attaquant toutes et ne s’attachant à aucune. Mes pensées, ce sont mes catins.

Loneliness comes with small steps, but is not unwished for. Last week I still allowed someone inside; this week the window next to the door is opened so that we don’t have to shout. Today we’ve decided to have the shopping delivered, we ourselves have starting walking in a part of the wood we don’t often frequent. I hear that everyone is sprucing up their house. I’m not, I put my bookcases in order and find unfindable books. That’s how I found Rameau’s Nephew, written by Denis Diderot, one of the well-known Encyclopaedists. I bought the book in 1985, put it in the bookcase and yesterday refound it. I read the first sentences: ‘No matter whether the weather is fine or bad, it is my custom around five in the evening to go for a walk to the Palais-Royal. It is me one sees, always on my own, dreaming on the bench of d’Argenson. I converse with myself about politics, love, taste or philosophy. I give my mind free rein to roam as it will. I allow it to follow unchallenged the first wise or mad idea that presents itself, like one sees in the Allée de Foy our dissolute young men following in the steps of a courtesan who knows herself discovered, with laughing face, bright-eyed, nose upturned, only to leave her for another one, attacking all of them without attaching themselves to any of them. My thoughts are my trollops.’ It is a magnificent beginning, that book I’m going to read, I really feel like it, I can’t do anything else than walk in a wood or read a book that I bought in 1985. The museums are closed, the shopping is brought to the house, I don’t travel by train, for I can’t keep everyone at a distance of one and a half metres. And, moreover, I have to take care what I say. A week ago I was in a hospital and said there to someone that there were also positive aspects to this new situation. That was a sore subject, but all I said was that I realised quite a lot of what one had to do without was superfluous anyway. The man was angry, as if I had insulted him. I hadn’t, it was simply one of those unfortunate misunderstandings. I was glad when I was back home and could shut the door behind me, because the authorities approve of my not receiving any visits.

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