quinta-feira, outubro 19, 2017

Tomato Soup is Lava: "Time Ages in a Hurry" by Antonio Tabucchi, Antonio Romani (Translation)



Tabucchi’s notion of time (e.g., aging) is a weird one. I grew up thinking it didn't really exist, that it was just something us humans invented as a measurement, like cm or mm. But I also used to think tomato soup was lava. Time is the only God, because it behaves in exactly the way any self-respecting God should: it continues to do its thing utterly dependably, and ignores everything else. The problem, I think, is that our scientific knowledge of time is so limited that in any discussion, we can't avoid drifting into metaphysics, which doesn't really add to the discussion. Regarding "time" as an entity, I feel we are like a caveman looking at the Mona Lisa and wondering how it was done and what it could mean. We simply don't understand the extent of what we're looking at, and, like every generation, fall into the familiar trap that, because we are the here-and-now, we are the cleverest there's ever been, so we KNOW the answer, when, in fact, we're not much smarter than all the thousands of generations before us. The generations who follow us will behave in exactly the same way.

They don’t understand. When you are young, you don't really believe it will happen to you. 'The old' are a different species. By the time you get it, you are old yourself. Age sneaks up on us. I look in the mirror and ask 'Who are you and what did you do with my body'? Old age is just are the last pages of a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying only the rare pearls you found in an ocean of manure, and letting the glowing memory of those rare pearls play you out into oblivion. Hand me my single malt, please. The upside of being dead? Much of the bad, maybe even the worst, is behind you. You feel no pain, or even mild frustration, when you are dead. That's good!

I used to think I was old when I was 30. Getting old is not something that worries me rather than the inability to do certain things that comes with age. There are many things we do not understand. But I have come to understand two very important things due to personal experience. The first one is that we are not alone, and that there are beings who treat us in a similar way that conservationists treat wild animals by tagging and observing them. I have come to accept this, and I do not need have a need for anyone to accept this, I accept it myself, and that is good enough for me! The point is: Am I getting on in years? We all are! But I can still pedal the living arse off any of the teenagers or 20 somethings around here. I'm still reading about string theory, loop quantum gravity and topology. As Petruchio puts it in “The Taming of the Shrew”: “Where is the life that late I led?” I had this sentence come at me about 10 times in my life, but it's true (I know it’s all in Shakespeare you dumb ass!). The real meaning of this sentence dawned on me a long time ago, but the sentence only neon-ed up two years ago when I re-read all of my Shakespeare.


I don't doubt that someone, finally, will unravel the mystery of "time", but I don't realistically expect it for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Meanwhile I’m still on this wonderful journey of reading all of Tabucchi’s body of work. Aging, Time? Bah! Read Tabucchi! It’s all there.

2 comentários:

Luís Filipe Franco disse...

Well... I can definitely confirm that when I was young I also thought that time didn't really exist. I agree with the difficulty in understanding time and nowadays with all the impacts we now know about the impact of speed to our clocks, I think is even worse!

Maybe someone from the future will comeback in time to tell us what's the real nature of time:). Meanwhile we will get older and our kids will eventually improve their knowledge of time by then :). Maybe they will be the ones to tell us:).
I have a friend that when we were kids his grandmother always said to us... 'são vocês que nos fazem velhos!'... who btw lived until nineties with all her faculties and young spirit! That's one way of put it... we only understand we are getting old because of our environment...friends family, mirrors:)! On the inside we always have the same age:).

Manuel Antão disse...

Indeed Luis, but I can't comment on all this. I don't even know what day the bin-men come...Uncannily, the bin-men know when I'm on the phone, asleep or having a quiet moment. I sniff a time conspiracy here. (*jaws theme music*)