This evening, I simply could not be bothered to cook. I thought I would treat myself to a pizza instead. Am no big fan of pizzas, but it so happens that this was a convenient thing to do.
So I headed off to this pizzeria, that serves relatively good pizzas. It does not bother me to sit alone in a restaurant, I know it sometimes bothers others, some seem to think what it is this woman sitting alone doing ?
For me it is always an experience. The temporary state of aloneness is one that I find to be very conducive to knowledge. Aloneness does not frighten me, it is bad company that does.
I really do not wish to turn this post into some treatise on existentialism or the "human condition", but I can't but notice the "human condition" staring back at me.
A sad, sorry state of a human condition if you ask me.
When one is alone, one is afforded the luxury of observing and sometimes hearing others...And one by virtue of some state of aloneness is also made privy to people's minds, behavior, speech, words, interactions...
I have had this tendency since I was a small kid - that of observing. I remember one day my school teacher who prided herself on speaking bad French said to my mother
"votre fille est toujours dans la lune" - your daughter is always on the moon. At times they called me a lunatic at school, lunatic comes from lune...the moon.
Actually I was no lunatic, I was simply lucidly observing...
I have kept this "trait" in me and it kind of grew as I grew older, and took on the form of a hobby, if you wish - that of observing people.
I am quite discreet by nature, so I do it discreetly. This has also helped me to sharpen up my senses, without the need to actually look in the direction of a person, or a table... Sometimes a small irrelevant detail is sufficient, sometimes a sentence, sometimes a movement, sometimes a posture, sometimes the silence...
And from what I managed to gather from this evening's lesson, is that people overall, a great majority of them, are living in a mental la la land.
In other words, people, most people are the most unaware, unconscious thing that has ever been created. It is a miracle that we have survived so long with so little consciousness...and so little conscience.
Take for example the table at my right. About 15 individuals, mixed gender, sitting, eating and talking, and sometimes laughing at the most boring jokes ever. Age 25-30.
Pretending to be so sophisticated and so care free, yet you spot the guy who keeps straightening his tie, and the girl who keeps flicking her hair, trying to catch a glimpse of her reflection in someone's eyes, or the other who laughs louder than everyone else, trying to stand out from the crowd. Then you hear bits of a conversation, empty words that mean nothing, hollow, and each one is listening to their own echo, hoping to find some resonance somewhere in this tumult.
Or look at the table on my left, two women chatting. They were close enough so I could hear the conversation.
One says to the other
- I like your watch
- Do you know who gave it to me, have a wild guess.
- Hmmm, who can it be ?
- X gave it to me, now am trying to get him to buy the bracelet that goes with it.
- X ? I thought you stopped seeing X ? You said he has put on too much weight.
- Yes, he's gone so fat, he's not even attractive to me anymore, but still, I will ask him to bring me to this pizzeria one day...
- Yes that is a good idea, it's better than nothing.
Better than nothing.
How many people settle for better than nothing ? A lot of people do. Then they sit and complain that they have nothing in their lives...
I personally settled for a pizza. The cute waiter who is always all smiles, said
- So what shall it be ?
- Napolitana and take it easy on the anchovies, please.
And this is it, a pizza - a thin crispy bread with an obvious topping. Nothing hidden here. Mozzarella, tomatoes, black olives, anchovies, capers...
Nothing mysterious about a pizza, nothing tucked away, it's right there on your plate, totally exposed and flat...As flat as the way earth looks...
The garnish and toppings are there for all to see and the content is all too common.
A pizza does not have an existential crisis. Neither does the guy who is too worried about his tie, nor does the girl too engrossed in her looks, nor is a woman financially using a guy she no longer finds attractive...
Too simplistically predictable, too easy, too obvious -- just like a pizza.
Too bad, I could not finish my pizza. Half way through I had a strong bout of existential nausea even though it looked so appetizing...