As soon as you learn about fractions as a kid you (should) realize that life is short.

At what point does the perception shift? I had written in a blog post two years ago about how, when I was 4, I thought 30 seemed like a reasonable, elderly age to die. By the time I was 8 or 9, or as soon as we started studying fractions in school, I realized clearly that if I were to die at 30, my life was already almost one-third finished. The shortness of it all hit me suddenly, and early, meaning that I was never like the kids and even young adults who looked at slightly older adults and thought of them as “old”. It was one of my first steps toward looking at people and seeing much more depth and a bigger story than I could guess or perceive on the surface.

This ‘seeing a bigger story’ thing has two sides. Of course it makes me more compassionate – I don’t join into making fun of people, their appearances, foibles or misfortunes. I try to see the whole person, his/her history and issues, what got him/her to where s/he is. On the other hand, this also means that I know that what I see and receive on the surface is just the surface – maybe even an act (intentional or otherwise). And no one is immune from this because, again, there are two sides: there is the person one tries to present and the person the other party perceives.

Still I could save myself a lot of trouble if I could just apply the caution of this wisdom: In the beginning it is all an act. I was thinking about MDL, ex-boyfriend, who was all sweetness and light and listening and generosity and compliments. Intentionally he misled because he took great delight in intentionally tearing a person down brick by brick (I later saw that he repeated this pattern in every single relationship he subsequently had). In the sum total of the thing, he was the ‘perfect guy’ for less than one-third of an already brief, blip-on-the-radar relationship that felt like it dragged on for an eternity – or at least a huge chunk of my youth. It was not at all a huge chunk, but it seemed like “prime time” during which I missed so many other opportunities because I was so busy trying to reclaim the false perfection of the beginning.

What I took away from it, and need to Always Remember: It is all an act in the beginning. Maybe not everything, and maybe not as overtly as it was for him, but in most cases, people (all of us; again – no one is immune) are either donning their Sunday best or wheeling out best behavior or best-case-scenario versions of themselves. Or they are in the middle of some kind of an episode, and you get caught up in their madness until you inevitably realize, as it all winds down, that oh, none of that was real. Ooops. Or you know right from minute one they are not at all who they claim but for various reasons you let it all happen, perhaps repeatedly, because it feels good, whether on its own or because it’s the opposite of whatever you’ve just been through or because of the strength of their conviction and decisiveness in knowing who they are and taking what they want – that stuff is magnetic, if fleeting. Or it’s all a complete accident without intent – somehow it’s still all an act.

Because of the rule of fractions and life-is-short admonishments, you kind of hope that this rule about everything being an act will prove false one of these days.

Crying wolf
I keep thinking I will stop writing blog posts, but then ideas pop into my head, and I feel I must cast them out and put them somewhere. Often my threats are true, but it happens that the random things must come out one way or another. As someone said to me the other day, describing his semi-imaginary personification of me upon first acquaintance, trying to skip over all the ‘in the beginning it was all an act’ machinations and guessing games, “I made you inconsistent, difficult to please, playful, fearsomely intelligent and very autonomous.” Thus, if I am so inconsistent, it will come as no surprise that one day, I claim I will quit writing blog posts and the next, I’m writing them.

Other nonsense
Films: Somers Town (on MUBI)
Books: The River Between by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Soundtrack du jour: “Less Young but as Dumb” – Dougie Poole

wrapped in


Some days require wrapping not just your ears but your whole being in music. Meaning that such days require more than one song for the soundtrack du jour.

Today’s gems (loud, in headphones) even though there’s a whole lot more:

Catacombs – Vorderhaus
“Have I the right to want you/to say I love when I don’t see you?”

the drive – itneverhappened + Kim Schulke

desire stuck in plaster


Soundtrack du jour – a blast from the past – The Dø, “Stay (Just a Little Bit More)”. Years ago in the throes of several most ill-advised entanglements I came across this song, and it seemed so perfect. I ran across it again while looking at old journal entries on the mostly defunct LiveJournal platform. It’s still just as perfect as it was back in 2010.

“He was a bore, a true chore and I still wonder why I ever
Wanted to see him more
I know it’s useless to complain all these years after, well
Thanks for asking now I’m fine
I should have muffled my obsession but I was all too pure
And so blindly sure
That he’d always have the satisfying hug I needed
Stay just a little bit more
Don’t let my heart turn sore
Stay just a little bit more
Don’t let my heart turn sore
He was kind, polite and divine in public
Tender as a sleepy child
But when we got slightly more intimate
It wasn’t that bright
Yes he was kind, polite, sound and sublime
In theory
But in practice believe me
There was a nasty fire burning
Stay just a little bit more
Don’t let my heart turn sore
Stay just a little bit more
Don’t let my heart turn sore
‘And when my curves came into play
Oh what a hopeless tumbling down when
His desire was stuck in plaster
I was young but I believed in no tales’
So in the desert of the bed I looked hard for an oasis
But all I could find was a dead camel in pieces
And I got so scared I tried to lure him back to bed
And I whispered stay just a little more
But now I’m grateful to the camel
Cos all the lazy boy could do was run
Then I knew for sure
That he would never be the satisfying shag I needed”

No words but someone else’s


Thinking of waiting in the car for Lóa, getting lost in the sound of this on a cold, Swedish evening just before Christmas, but now finding the lyrics more striking. Take a breath. Don’t hurry. It’s rocky, unpredictable terrain but doesn’t mean you turn around and go home.

Still Life (Connan Mockasin mix)”  – The Horrors (the original)

“Under a sky, no one sees
Watching it happening
Don’t hurry
Give it time
Things are the way they have to be.

Slow down. Give it time.
Still life
You know I am listening
The moment that you want is coming
If you give it time

When you wake up!
When you wake up!
You will find me

When you wake up!
When you wake up!
You will find me

Under a sky.
No one else sees.
You’re sure.
Appears in front of me
The sky clears
The sun hits

I am here. Waiting. It’s happening
The moment that you want is coming
If you give it time

When you wake up!
When you wake up!
You will find me

When you wake up!
When you wake up!
You will find me”

Photo (c) Paul Costanich