When Time Is My Oyster

Have you noticed the relaxed way in which we actually re-create ourselves in our times off? Dem lieben Gott die Tage stehlen – Germans refer to the waste of time as to a theft committed in the face of God. I remember an episode during my student years, when, at the close of a noncompulsory course in Mediaeval Literature and Mystics, somebody asked: "What's the time?" Nobody could answer. Nobody had a watch.I would like to sample the anatomy of a day off, within the confines of my own apartment or of spaces which are subterraneously linked to it.If it is particularly light, the rays pervade half of my room and I take the astronomic hint that it might be time to tumble out of bed. As if in a reflex, I look up the cant and re-analyse the shape of the large and the small Amorphophalis. Everything is in place. Then I migrate, in a curt vernal pilgrimage, to the white sage on my balcony, to count the number of efflorescences for the day. Usually, around nine to twelve.I have a short flashback of the bygone day, when Maximus the Birman unwittingly gave me a terrible allergy. It still lingers on and I decide to foil it with coffee.Today I must cross half the city to visit my best friend, who has briefly returned to Romania. She is offering me the spectacle of her son. We assume the task of recording three or four scores of lullabies on to a transparent toy cassette player: "La-le-lu, nur der Mann im Mond schaut zu…"2 Leo has an instinctive draw towards music, he intuits the most perfect human language. I tell my friend about the Jazz Lullabies I had discovered at the Riga airport. BobbyMcFerrin. "He is an essentially happy being. I saw him give an interview once." "Yes," she concedes, "this is how he comes across on stage, as well. He sings entire scores with his 'human instrument.' Brilliant."Amorphophalis is a very peculiar plant: Brazilian, I found it by chance at a Jew florist's. Last year it had completely collapsed, then it resurrected and fathered a new, miniature version of itself. The trunk has the texture of a snakeskin, the leaves give the impression of webbed feet.I arrive home to lounge, an odalisque, in a bubble of contentment. The Oriental sloth lasts until I realize I have urgent shopping to do. In fact, it lasts longer. Then I proceed, all wrapped up in my clothes à la day off. I chance across a familiar face and an unfamiliar dog. Ought to have made that necessary call last year, when the old man had gone aloft. That knotty first call after. Uri, the dog, is a new addition to the family "We found the stray right after he died and he was irresistible." Uri, the snowflake. A canine translation of elation. Mrs. Ene entertains social pleasantries with the deceased. Every time she drives past Saint Friday's, she humorously pays respect to her next-to-kin: "Greetings, my mother. Greetings, my father." Then, a friend finds me on my way home, and we promptly decide to inspect "Pardon Café." The common point of history and a brassiere – they both distort reality. I arrive home. The TV has been fixed. The noise has supplanted two weeks of calm joy and secret bonding with my apartment, as a result of lengthy contemplation thereof. There is a documentary on about Bob Ballard's quest in the Black Sea. His mentor had held a theory that at the bottom of the Black Sea there is a ship, undisturbed, preserved up to its half mast. It seems that, according to Ryan and Pittmann, this sea was the site which gave birth to all the deluge myths in all important religions. I decide to give up coffee. I have channeled the resolve into my obstinate self and just sense it might work. Tonight there has been a prediction of falling stars. The skies are covered. I get an ancestral urge to take shelter into my room and under the covers. The double silhouette of the Amorphophalises watches sternly over the room – a tame window towards the untamed. I used to envisage ideal scenarios for my life before going to sleep, now I do not any longer. The future takes the form of an immense garden. Tomorrow I have to compress life and death in one day: a requiem at noon, a wedding liturgy at five. I am content.

by Andreea Călugăriţă