Tales from the Not So Dark Side

I am having what I would call a “groggy Saturday morning”.  For reasons that may be beyond the understanding of mere mortals, I want nothing more than to sip coffee, browse the media for obscure stories and grumble. In the event that you share my mood, here is a sampling of the great and not so great from today

Winner of the “Good Lord!” Category

If you are reading this in a public place or anywhere near your significant other, I would not recommend answering this question aloud. But do you get sexually aroused by the thought of riding in a submarine? Perhaps I am just getting older, but I confess that I do not.  Nor do I fantasize about paying nearly $1 million for the opportunity to have sex while traveling in a submarine, even if the conveyance does have windows and a bar.  Of course, it is mildly reassuring to know that if I change my mind, the option is there.

Still, I have a hard time imagining myself approaching the embarkation point for this dubious adventure and reaching out for my complementary glass of champagne without at least a twinge of embarrassment. What would my ex wife think? And what vintage are they serving? The article is strangely silent on that last rather critical point.

Winner of the “Don’t You Have Better Things to do?” Category

Before saying anything more, I would make clear that I have nothing against Paris. Nor do I have anything against people who feel compelled to go there, even to live there for a while, thinking that it will cure them of ennui. BTW, I caution that desiring a “cure for ennui” does open one up to a bit of teasing. Luis Bunuel, Fellini and many others got it right that treated properly, ennui is not life threatening. Sitting down with a decent glass of plonk to watch a film like “Local Hero” or “Cocoon” will often complete the exorcism. In a pinch, even an episode of Rumpole of the Bailey might be good enough.

But I do not get the idea of actually moving to Paris just to re-discover the alleged passions of long dead artists, writers and their associates. I am sure that their passions were perfectly ok as passions go. These may even have involved fantasies of boozy submarine journeys and startled stingrays. But what about our own genuine passions, even ennui? I read today

Dreams are one thing, making art or writing a novel is another thing. Over the years, the shiny glow of Paris began to develop a darker patina. I saw the rough edges. I experienced the rude waiter in the bistro and the scam artist on the street. I felt the loneliness of a Parisian Sunday when the café closes early and there’s no family to go home to.

Rude waiters and closed cafés! I don’t want to be unduly critical. But I notice that it seems to have taken “years” for this charming writer to start noticing her actual surroundings. Isn’t that a rather long time? Were drugs or creepy Spanish boyfriends actually driving this story forward? One wonders.

Note to self: if you feel the urge to write about the dark side of things, go to where darkness is more serious than missing out on a friendly cappuccino or misplacing your copy of “The Sun Also Rises“.  Better yet: stay in Tartu and indulge in a daily dose of Charles Bukowksy and Raymond Carver while listening to Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen. Now that stuff is dark.

Winner of the “What about us?” Category

I was delighted to read today that there is a new “dark and toasty” Baltic porter on the market. I rather like this style of beer making. The problem is that this new “Baltic porter” is  coming to market in British Columbia, not Estonia.

Fair enough. They have every right to have nice beer too. But where are our leading craft beer makers? After all, it is our tradition. I will resist going over to the dark side on this one. At least for now. After all, the cafés are still open, and it is Gastronomy Month in Southern Estonia!

On the other hand, I am reminded of this scene from one of my favorite movies “Sideways” about going over to the dark side. Errr … and when Bill Murray stole Phil the groundhog in Groundhog Day.



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