far too much writing, far too many photos

Man, I had a hard time concentrating today. On anything. I mean, seriously. Distracted, not a happy boy. The solution: go see “About Schmidt” (here called “A Propósito de Schmidt”). Which did the trick. God bless Jack Nicholson.

Something I noticed in the film’s closing credits: of the seven Drivers listed, three had nicknames. They were:

Sparky

Sluggo

Johnboy

Afterwards, when I walked into the men’s room, the gent who entered ahead of me walked into one of the three little toilet closets — they don’t seem to have stalls here very often; mostly little rooms with a door to close and (in theory) lock — and shut the door. There were five urinals lined up along one wall with a guy standing at the middle one. I parked myself at the far left one and as I dumped the ballast I noticed why the fella who entered ahead of me opted for one of the toilet rooms: the guy at the middle urinal seemed to be in the middle of a crisis. He stood right up against the porcelain, his body actually leaning into the bugger, his head bent forward so that the top of his skull rested against the wall. When I first took note of him, he seemed to be shaking, almost quaking. That settled down, but his general air remained tense, one of something approximating existential angst (perhaps in keeping with the film we’d just seen). At one point, as he stood there tinkling away, he raised a closed fist and began slowly punching the little FLUSH button, causing repeated spritzing by the urinal. When he finished, he zipped up and rushed immediately out the door. I noticed the floor in front of that urinal had been left generously puddled with liquid, no humongo surprise. Then I noticed that the floor in front of the one next to me looked about the same. The floor in front of mine, on the other hand, was clean and dry. I am such a grown-up.

And with that, I swaggered proudly, smugly back out into the world.

Later, at a bookstore I wandered into, I happened to glance at a shelf of self-help books. The following five titles were leaning up against each other:

¡Sí, tú puedes! (Yes, you can!)

El Dragón Ya No Vive Aquí! (The Dragon Does Not Live Here!)

¿Por Qué Nunca Tengo Suficiente? (How Come I Never Have Enough?)

¿Quieres Cambiar Tu Vida? (Do You Want To Change Your Life?)

Como Hacerte Rico Usando Tu Imaginación (How To Make Yourself Rich Using Your Imagination)

¡Madre Mia!

Meanwhile, it’s Valentine’s Day (love notes or correspondence of a flirty nature can be sent to runswithscissors@myway.com). I’ve translated three more love letters from this last Sunday’s El País weekly magazine. (See journal entries for 11 Feb. and 13 Feb. for more.) Don’t let the title of the first one confuse you:

Nine love letters

In none do I write my name. Neither do I write yours. Between lines: “passion that burns me,” as between the curtains I see you, luminous, in the mornings.

When I recognize the soft sound of your steps on the landing and then open the door and bump into you, as if by chance, in the elevator you rob me of my breath.

All the songs that I hear on the radio talk of you.

At the banquet, the feast of your kisses, I am never invited because your husband is always there.

I pass the hours in my studio, and between lines: “passion that burns me.”

And like my literature, which no one will ever read, I keep these nine letters in a drawer in the hope that the tenth will say I love you.

– J.G. Mindundi

72 years

72 years. One says it quickly. 72 years getting up and going to bed early. Day by day. Week by week. Month by month. Year by year.

72 years of affection, of chats, of quarrels, of company, of tenderness, of work. You in the house. Me in the mine. The two of us in the country. And a war. And a post-war. And hunger. And cold and misery. And six children (one already buried).

72 years of joys and pains, of shared dreams, of walking the same road, step by step, hand in hand, skin against skin.

72 years and now you’ve gone. And I… I don’t know who I am.

– Aquilino Oveja Alvarez

Weakened

Dear Sandra:

Last night I learned to love you. I never imagined that it would make me so tired. But it’s worth it.

Many kisses –

– Pablo González-Posada

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That’s right, it’s Saint Valentine’s Day. Let the people in your life know how much they mean to you.

Later.

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