I've just been accused of lying. I went to get a shawarma at the Trekroner Kebab House and the man serving me, a Turk, insisted that I wasn't telling him the truth. Upon being asked whether I was married, and upon having given him an affirmative answer, his reaction was: "You're lying. You don't' have a ring, you come here alone at 9 o'clock in the evening and you expect me to believe you?" (I've been buying food from him before, so he thinks he can allow himself to ask me things - which he may, as I gave him the indication that I didn't mind). "Err," I said, "yes, I expect you to believe me, but I can see that you don't." "But you must have a lover," he decided. Well, now, how do you explain in a sentence, that you don't have a ring because you don't like the symbolic associations with things that immediately call forth the powerful thought of commitment, subjugation, and other such submissive crap - you are a Marxist for Christ's sake; how do you explain that what you value in your relationship is not the idea of being someone's lover the way others define it - for Christ's sake, there is good sex, but that is the least interesting aspect in a relationship that's based on the mutual recognition that imagination is the only thing that saves us from our selves as we are in the process of dying, getting old, becoming unbearably uninteresting, unappetizing, and so on; how do you explain in a sentence that you follow no rules of engagement whether Danish, Romanian, or some other dubious and complicated ethnicity? Yes, I wanted to say, it's not the role of the single damsel in distress that I come close to, but that of a mad woman who on an impulse decided to get a kebab after an hour and a half of very good yoga. For Christ's sake, I should have had a yoghurt!

What did I get out of it, then? The Turk fascinates me, because he's completely deaf - wears hearing devices on both his ears - and makes me speak slowly so he can lip read. He always gives me plenty of time to think about my next sentence. On this particular occasion, when I said, "I'm an independent woman," he went: "oh, you go to Italy, good for you." I went home where the not-believed-in-husband was not waiting for me, and I had this very invigorating thought on the way: no matter how we turn it, how much recognition we want from others, how much we want others to trust our tales, or how fabulous the sex is, life is still good for nothing, and we're still going to die. Consequently, I told myself in a very self-assured, self-help-therapeutic vein: "formulate an interesting thought a day that you can endorse yourself, and you'll be fine."


Bent said…
Philosophers have long argued that (some) (men's) thoughts are immortal. And Shakespeare had some distincly non-feminist ideas about a woman's potential immortality stemming solely from her marriage, husband and progeny:

Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose unear'd womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother's glass and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine age shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles this thy golden time.
But if thou live, remember'd not to be,
Die single and thine image dies with thee.

(Sonnet 3)

You, however, must be among the first people to look for immortal thoughts to spring from buying and eating a shawarma!

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