“I once heard someone say that the concept of moderation seems a little extreme.” — Koren Zailckas, Smashed
“My purity is based on the fact that nobody offered me much money. I suppose that had I moved into more popular realms, I might have surrendered some of the characteristics of my nature that are now described as virtues.” — Leonard Cohen, “Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough,” Musician (July 1988)
“Nothing, however, is more dubious than the way in which these two words ‘pessimist’ and ‘optimist’ are used; for the optimist appears to be he who cannot bear the world as it is, and is forced by his nature to picture it as it ought to be, and the pessimist one who cannot only bear the world as it is, but loves it well enough to draw it faithfully.” — John Galsworthy, “Some Platitudes Concerning Drama,” The Complete Essays of John Galsworthy
Raphe HEC TPN GB‘s Être libre in the entrance of the Rue Étienne Dolet metro station. Raphael aka Raphe HEC TPN GB is a Parisian street artist. HEC TPN GB are the initials for three street art collectives to which he belongs. The title, Être libre, is word play and has two meanings: 1. A free being; 2. Be free.
January 22, 2021
rue Étienne Dolet,
“The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.” — Samuel Beckett, Murphy
“The only situation which might justify panic is one in which panic is likely to help. Such a situation never arises.” — Simon Brett, Mrs. Pargeter’s Package
Ralphy, Alice’s dog, wasn’t listening. He ran off, his leash dragging on the ground. The unprovable cause.
The plan was for me to pick up Alice in Reims and to drive to Brussels for the long weekend. My artist friend, Zach, had gotten us invited to an album release party followed by the opening of the Collectives‘ latest show. It would have been better to take the train.
What I know of those two events, I owe to Zachary’s acting the selfie addict. He thought the whole story ridiculous and felt obliged to taunt me with the latest happenings.
The fireman said it was impossible. I told him I could not see what else could have caused it. He told me to slow down. Think before speaking. He could think of another cause. Thirty seven minutes later a van full of fire department technicians were taking apart what was left of my car. It would have been better to take the train.
I phoned my insurer. I reported the fire and asked how the process for a replacement vehicle worked. The person thanked me for calling. He then asked me to wait while he patched me through to his supervisor. I was thanked again, told that the fire had been flagged as suspicious by the fire department, received an avalanche of the most sincere condolences for the difficulties this was causing, asked to please understand that this was procedure and that my case was on hold until authorities cleared the flag.
Alice started calling her friends, then acquaintances with good vibes and maybe a car. Zach gave me the number of a someone he knew who might be willing trade favours. It turned out she only took cash because favours are zero interest debts. She laughed at that.
It didn’t matter. I had questions to answer, asked by people whose long weekend I had spoiled, people who were hoping that they could get this over with before the lab results were in. It took a few more hours for them to finally accept it as cause unknown (they were never going to accept that Ralphy’s leash could create a spark that somehow made the car catch fire). It took me a few more hours for me to get them to explicitly rule out suspicious circumstances. It would have been better to take the train.
At least we have the photos.
“The rich will say it ain’t practical, and the poor will never get a chance to find out if it is or not.” — Will Rogers, “Mr. Ford And Other Political Self Starters,” New York Times (1923-06-10)