Feeling half-blind after a completely sleepless 24 hours (I tried) and driving three hours in the darkness, encountering a few timid deer and one idiot riding a bicycle on a winding country road at 2 a.m. (no lights, no reflectors, dark clothing – death wish!), I can only think of a poem I have cited before. I feel like one of these “between-creatures” myself.
–Marin Sorescu (Romania)
It is time to learn from the bats
Who can home in the dark.
Learn flying blind.
Dispense with the sun.
The future is dark.
Listening to some music from Mali thinking about going to sleep, and then one of my French-man army said to me, “You bet!”
This took me back suddenly to elementary and high school. I am sure lots of boys there were nice, but there is only one I remember being absolutely nice. A calm politeness that was beyond his years, above the hubbub of adolescence. A quiet politeness that went beyond what was normal for anyone, actually. He was the kind of boy who borrowed a pencil one day and brought you a whole new pencil the next day to replace it.
I was destined, though, to be close friends with girls who had huge crushes on this guy. I suppose for me he appeared a lot like I appeared to many people – not genderless, but somehow not in the mix when it came to adolescent dating and awkward hormonal expressions of interest. He seemed “above” it. He probably wasn’t, but it just seemed like he was not at school to be flirting and dating.
In elementary school or junior high, he made fun of the term “You bet” – or he said it jokingly because someone didn’t like it. I don’t remember exactly how it went, but suddenly the emphatic exclamation, “You bet!” reminded me of this guy. Naturally he happens to be one of the few people from that era who has no online presence. I have no real idea what he is doing but assume he’s still one of the nicest guys I have ever met. It is rare that a person is genuinely nice without any kind of agenda or ulterior motive. I know I am a cynic, but once a while, faith is restored, at least in part.
This kind of random thought springs to mind when I am trying to sleep – entirely without success.