The Journal of Happiness, Nicolae Steinhardt (6)
What does it have to do with that fact that I broke it or not? It has. Something tells me strongly that it has.
Persistent, but in the background. I understand too well – better and better as the
long confrontation goes forward with bandaged gloves – that now will be taken the decision, that from now all will be triggered. And the devilish thing is that no matter how I toss and turn I still remain trapped. Wether the path of truth or the fog of slipping in futility, I am still lost, I will still have to admit it. Just that I am more tempted by and it seams more mercyful on the path of oblivion, the path of confusion, where all are equal, and nonsensical and lack importance.
Lost? Ah! No. Look as from the depths of Panteleimon and Cluceresa – the
slum and the village – suddenly dawns another thought, a third solution.
Ah! no, not the humility of giving in comes from the devil. Around me there’s not fog, in me no delirium: I am in full reality, what I see is true. Panteleimon and Clucereasa whisper to me: – just like great scholl colleagues that whisper the answer precisely: why get caught by phantasmagoria? Come take your senses. Yes, she is. Yes, all is true. To be calm and cynical and skilful. Repeat after me : skilful. Yes, it exists, there is an unthinkable third solution. Your duty this very moment is to be in a vulgar way calm , skilful, careless. Be a peasant, you little jew. Be as coming out of the slum. Old Sickness, who was robbed by the maid; Old Feud that was to be deceived by the neighbor; Old John that is not mislead by his wife; Uncle Pandele that tangles the whole world. I am not on the Venusberg and this is not the Valpurgia night. I am in a Security Investigation office, on the Plevnei road (needless, putting me dark glasses, you drove me round and round in the barracks yard of Malmaison), and this is T., who passed on their side … Why? How is that? No way! Why, I don’t know and do not care. And as for the impossibility, well look, it’s possible. Let me not be scholastic, oil freezes, whatever Aristotle says.
The glass? Of course I did it. Of course I broke it. (An awkward gesture and how
ashamed I felt. Ah, shards bring luck only in German.) But my only duty now is to be calm, smart and stubborn. Tough. Headstrong. Crabby. Laconic. Miffed.
The third solution: Not to recognize that I broke it, nor to let myself caught in dizziness.
Nor the stupidity of fear, neither the spell of dizziness. But something else: the lie. The peaceful and skilful lie.
This remains for me, that’s the third way; to be clever peasant and
cunning gossiper. Calm and Steadfast. At their height. Hers and theirs. Not above. I don’t remember, point and end of story. And I do not know. And I am quiet. And speechless. I do not admit. I do not give up. I don’t know, sir. I do not remember anything. Like a stupid goat. Neither in bed, nor under the bed. Neither the carriage nor in the cart. Like the beans on Easter day. Like old Lache at the fair: does not negociate any dime; like old Simache in court: he does not allow others to block him. Like old Gruia at the bargain: no , no and again no.
– to be continued
translation: memyselfandela, 2012