In Norway, the prevalent word is whatever. Whatever ails me, intellectually or physically, the good thing about Norway is that it always enables me to say, whatever. Here the only thing that matters is Norway itself. That’s why I return every year, and every year the obligatory 3 weeks tend to get longer. Of course, I plan to retire here, on top of a mountain. (Although sometimes I’m tempted by the idea of retiring on top of Lincoln Center in NYC – but that is very unlikely, given my money situation).

Today, in spite of sunny weather and the call of the plateau, I go for more whatever. I decide to get a classical massage. (They say that the Norwegian masseurs are some of the best in the world, and I believe everything where Norway is concerned). Unlike the other day at the fantastic spa at Vestlia Hotel, today I get a most beautiful specimen of a male Norwegian to do the work. He doesn’t ask me to empty my mind, like the other one did, and this suits me fine. But it occurs to me that the bloody French pursue me again. Now, as soon as the masseur’s hands hit my body, the theme melody in the classical movie Un Homme et Une Femme (1966) spirals through my head. Quite awful actually, but then I did always think that nobody was better at acting in the 60s than Anouk Aimée. I ask the masseur what he thinks of my body. He tells me that I’m not his easiest customer. No matter how hard he presses I never say stop. Of course not, I think, I didn’t pay a fortune for caresses. Whatever, I further think, the whole thing is beautiful. His body smells good, and his hands are warm. I close my eyes. Oh, they are already closed.

Back at the cabin in the woods, good literature awaits me. Raymond Federman sent me an erotic email. I respond in kind. One simply can’t have enough erotic texts around written by intelligent people. Or is that a contradiction in terms? I have license from Raymond to use whatever parts of his texts, including his body. So I do. Ever So devotionally. The poem he sent me has this stanza highlighted:

“Oh yes, I remember, I remember, I said, reaching for you in the dark, so that once again we could roll in the grass and slowly fall asleep into each other's essence.”

Raymond, my “gladiator, musketeer, paratrooper, French lover [once upon a time], the last of the Mohicans, an old fart”, whatever we do, we must keep loving the idea.


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