“Sex is a subterfuge given to humanity to make it accept the world as the status quo.”
Do you know what it is to be God? To know what no one else knows? To see what’s hidden from everyone? To anticipate what others won’t feel even post factum?
It’s devilishly hilarious. So much so that nothing more hilarious exists.
Planets orbit stars, but they think they only rotate around themselves. We notice only what we want to see, failing to even realize it’s possible to want something else. The fact that we want itself justifies our very wanting, and the satisfaction of obtaining it seals the deal.
I used to be just like everyone else. Of course, I thought there was an abyss separating me from the others. Seriously: they were always trying to screw each other over while being nauseatingly polite, and I helped them while cursing cruelly. They had no idea what the abstract was, and I recited poetry to them, trying to explain that our world is but a lopsided replica of something magnificent. They despised and dreamt of destroying those who surpassed them in what they deemed important, and I fell in love with such people, striving to emulate their strengths.
I was absolutely sure I had nothing in common with anyone else except for cellular biology, but I was wrong. The aforementioned trifles, along with a million others, are submerged in a common denominator that levels almost everyone. I unearthed it by accident while reading; the book is still in print and may end up in your hands at some point. If this does happen, however, keep in mind that, to understand it, you’ll need not intelligence but unbending intent. I didn’t have it either, but I had already grown so disappointed in life that I considered dying. This sounds like a banal verdict, I know; yet some never do what they should until cornered. And when they are, they reveal such strengths that one can’t help wondering: where the hell had they been before?
What was I talking about? Oh, right: you are waiting to learn what makes people alike. I’ll tell you, gladly, but later: right now, I need to take care of this young lady of about twenty-two in the BA uniform before her pretty face bursts from spite.
“Sir, this is a first-class registration desk,” she said in a tone of professional superiority.
“I know,” I said with a smile, handing her my ticket.
She looked at it and blushed. I would have felt sorry, but my treacherous memory was already running a twelve-year-old movie: one where I, a tired guy on yet another red-eye BA flight that night, bumped into a stewardess of no more than forty years of age who wore the same perfume as a good half of the female students at my college. It was my fault (I was dreaming about one of those students and walked into her), but before I had a chance to apologize she smiled at me as if she weren’t on duty, and I felt sad that this woman had to spend the rest of her life without me in it.
The check-in clerk finally produced my boarding pass, issuing unnecessary directions and avoiding my eyes. Her initial reaction was predictable: my washed-out Canadian tuxedo with its fringe of threads on the worn-out cuffs hardly became a first-class passenger: I looked more like a contractor who hadn’t been doing well over the last few years. By the way, have you ever noticed that, the more you think about clothing, the less social inequality bothers you? Frankly, I prefer silk and cashmere, but how could I have dressed in either while anticipating an encounter with a woman who had painstakingly ignored my existence for the last decade?
You know, if you belong to the tribe of skeptics, cynics, and materialists, you won’t profit from my tale at all. What I write about here won’t even make you laugh, so please: leave before you regret having wasted your time. In order to like my story, you need: one, imagination; two, trust; and, three … but let’s take care of the second requirement first. See, unlike the average literary hero, who never existed, I am actually experiencing the events I’m describing, so I cannot dismiss them as an accidental opacity in the swollen psyche of a stoned writer. In other words, while you can afford the luxury of an indifferent bystander observing the whole thing out of the corner of his eye while picking his nose, I am doomed to the absolute reality of everything you are reading. For me it’s as urgent as for you … well, what’s urgent for your right now? So, to dig me, you’re gonna have to put yourself in my shoes, whether you like it or not.
Dear ladies, I’m sure you understood that the previous paragraph was meant for men, those strange creatures with the terrible habit of taking a literary hero literally. But we, of course, know that if the title of a novel consists of but one name, it is the bearer of that name who will be the protagonist, even if her story is being told by someone else. Let us sail away, then, and may God save you from all the imperfections of my inimitable Martina.
I did not want to call her name too soon … But perhaps it’s time already, and to think otherwise would only spell vanity and vexation of spirit. Why did I not want to? For me, it’s like a joker I can play whenever I want but that loses a bit of its eccentric magic each time it is looked upon by a judgmental eye. See, I have no choice but to take you for good people, regardless of whether you are. By the way, just between you and me: are you?
In informal letters, such questions are followed by emoticons, but since this novel is not epistolary, I’ll stick to words, leaving to you the freedom of divining their emotional content. I used to think that the author had to deliver the very sense he intended himself; but eventually I realized it was impossible for me because my fundamental values didn’t overlap with those of ordinary people. I have another nasty trait: I can’t explain things that are obvious to me and, as if by evil design, these are the matters that strike others as the most abstruse.
But enough of this touchy torture: I already owe you as many seconds as you took to get here from the word “three,” unless you aren’t after the bare plot and are enjoying my snide tone. In that case, metaphorically speaking, you’re in for many an opportunity to pause, close your eyes and smack your lips, savoring the wonderful warmth in your sternum: this is how I react to reading a passage that is so brilliant I wish I wrote it myself. However, if you aren’t enjoying yourself this far and, in fact, can’t wait for the narrative to get back to the point, whatever that might be, I hate to warn you, but what you’ve seen thus far is nothing compared to the rest. This novel isn’t so much about events as what people feel about them; so, if you don’t like what you’ve read so far, going further is completely pointless. In fact, it could be harmful, so enter at your own risk! And if in the end you feel unfulfilled, remember that I had honestly encouraged you to exit right now.