Севастьянов Максим Александрович: другие произведения.


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  When I wake up, I listen to the sound of the garbage machine emptying the garbage container.
   When living in Jerusalem, I associated myself mainly with garbage G-d-fearing Jerusalemites
   who gather it in their plastic packets you can take in the supermarket on cash counter,
   and throw it to the garbage containers. I was struggling not to throw myself, my keys, money,
   or something other valuable, with the packet I threw to the garbage.
  Who is smarter: your dog or a two-year old child? I don't know but they both surely are more smart
  than many adult people I've met (I keep to a Taoist view according to which
  babies and animals are more smart than intellectual, rational beings).
  I didn't wish and don't wish now to reincarnate the 30-meter monument from the 30s
  depicting a worker and a peasant woman (Lilia figuring as a peasant woman). Though I'm a worker and my Lilia also is a worker, I'm not happy about glorifying our labor. I am rather fed up with monuments; usually it's a monument on your personal tomb.
  I remember instances in my life when I worked physically or mentally (not too many of them, I am really very lazy), and sometimes they infuse me with a warm feeling. I remember, when I did massage or acupressure to my mother, Lilia or Lillian, I had a good feeling after it, if all went smoothly. I had a good feeling, I like to work, but in the Angel's Bakeries where I worked making(rather, sorting and carrying) bread, my back got to ache, and Lilia's back also aches from nikaion(cleaning) jobs she's had. If I read papers, my head begins to ache, I get goofy, cuckoo, etc. Work is essential for enlightenment, say some Buddhists but other Buddhists keep idle.
   My mother is also not quite 'all right'. She's 75, and she smokes though she was a doctor. But she has not a cancer. Actually, she helped to some of her patients to quit smoking. She also urges me to quit smoking.
  In the summer of 1992, in between trips of Oliver to Russia and mine visit to Germany, the Finnish friend of Natasha I used to hang around with a couple of years before, invited me to her wedding with a Russian boy, Andrei, or Andreika. This morning, Andrei Pavlysh's sister was arriving with her small daughter to Petersburg, and Andrei asked me to meet her to help with the baggage. I met her, early in the morning, on the railway station. First, she was apprehensive to me, but as we talked of her reads and studies at some non-degree college, she grew friendlier. By the time we got to her flat, she became interested in me and amorous. She asked me to go with her to a market (I wanted to return to my apartment for some nap and then to go to the wedding). We stood on the street corner for hours, she talking about something, I not listening and waiting for my turn to cut into her talk and say good-by. I did not want to mess with her, I met her on the station, helped her with her baggage, and that was it. Thinking again, I think it would be better for me not to mess with this wedding where I have not found any love-mate(Natasha was busy with her schedule and did not notice me, I don't understand now her then relation to me, in 1990 I thought I loved her and did not make advances to any other girl but she was indifferent to me, she'd kept me for a while only to drop later in the year and I have not seen her for a year and a half before this wedding) and to go with that Andrei's sister to her apartment to lay with her. But I went to my home, listened to 'The Velvet Underground' , and this music filled me with some weird emotion, as later on the wedding Oleg Kiriluyk, a guy I knew from the Fortress, said, there was 'something extraterrestrial' about me. I went to metro station 'Petrogradskaya' where the bus was to take us to our destination, a rented dacha on the shore of the Finnish Bay. All our Fortress guys were present. One of them, former bum from the Crimea, I believe, who was broke some time ago and lived in the Fortress and hiked meals from the inhabitants-students, recently became a millionaire, he could afford jokes about me, how unsuccessful I looked . I never minded. At the party, there were many Finns, and the mother of the bride even invited me for a dance. I spent most of the time in the garret room, where many sisters of the bride (they were seven, altogether) gathered, I don't know why. I liked one smaller sister, she seemed to me cute. When we returned in the bus back, I flirted with the newly-wed Natasha's Finnish friend, and we went to spend the night at their new rented apartment. I was dispatched to the room where the library of Andreika was, and read some Plato and Sherbatsky's book on nirvana. Later, Andreika borrowed from me a book on Minoan civilization, and when he came to return it, we stupidly smiled at each other like some twin brothers. He worked as a restorer of old buildings and his mother was a business-woman. But it did not seem to me the new spouses were particularly happy. I didn't understand why. When later I inquired about this cute sister he asked which one of them but I did not remembered her name, and he did not offered to find out.
  'The End of Eternity' by Isaak Azimov is about rewriting history, about one organization which is busy with managing events in the long row of controlled centuries so that they synchronicize and harmonize with each other, with manipulating the course of history (on the politically correct, predictable, not going to the extremes and excesses, 'healthy' basis, whereby all a bit unordinary individuals are eliminated from these centuries and monotone mediocrity reigns through supervised eternity. This was made possible due to one genius' discovery, back in 20 century.
   Time travel is probably impossible, but rewriting history, and, in general, manipulating behavior and outlook of people is quite possible and is practiced widely, and made easier with advent of computers and television (I remember Orwell's '1984', though the Soviet Union began to collapse in 1985, me finishing my two-year term in the army, his work proved relevant for times after 1984).
  Children in the U.S.A. are bought blocks (invented in the early 1900s) to play with. This is our block civilization. Everything is square. I myself did not play with blocks when child; but I did not escape the blockishness, I thought blocks( bricks, block buildings, blocks of buildings, straight Roman camp map of Petersburg)are in Russia only, but blocks were invented in America.
  My career in Jerusalem included not only the garbage containers, on which Jerusalem cats liked so much to spend their free time. I worked as a caretaker for one Jewish-Canadian family. The husband, physicist who worked previously in America's Kodak enterprise, was sick with Parkinson disease, and I was to walk with him. We played Scrabble, and upon my arrival to their apartment in Abu Tor (which is located on a hill neighboring with the Old City, and includes Jewish and Arab houses, nevertheless segregated), the wife prepared for me a cutting from a newspaper (International Herald Tribune, with 'The Arets' inside, 'The Arets' being the leading leftist paper in Israel appearing in Hebrew and English, probably in Arabic, but not in Russian) with a puzzle: scrambled words, which I was to unscramble and guess the message under the picture. He admitted not understanding how he ended up in Jerusalem, and I often dressed him in some red T-shirt or just a shirt. He had shown me pictures on his projector where he was seen with some other men in the mountains of Judea taking part in the failed project of conducting water from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea. He gave me a book to read about the American mathematician who solved The Last Fermat Theorem. We sat on the bench somewhere in the spring sun and discussed important political and philosophical questions. He had some trouble in walking and talking. His wife, in her turn, presented me with Dan Brown book called 'Da Vinci Code' saying she abhorred the book( so she thought it would be good for me).One day I walked with him, thinking about something else, and I did not notice he was falling. He fell, and I brought him home with his face bloody. It was Sabbath, we went to the urgent medical help, and he was treated. And I lost my job.
  I remember waking up in my early school years and being in the kitchen preparing myself breakfast, being all alone with myself, in solitude and free from all that stuff like radio, school, people, and family. Outside it was usually dark, possibly rain or snow. It was probably cold. But I felt happy these moments, I was alone with myself.
   I used to be late for school many times. Crazy, intimidated, I ran to school, thinking what I should say to teachers. My schoolmates even issued a fun class newspaper hanging on the wall of our class then, depicting me sitting on the bed, and the red sun is shining through the window, and the writing:' The sunny has already arisen...'
  I cannot say I hated school, I just was not interested. I was more interested in books I was reading, in soccer games on the street; in basketball I played in some team, in furtive smoking and drinking in the upper classes, girls I liked also.
  Now, I remember with nostalgia how I worked in the army, how I worked with a spade to unload a coal ship, or how I climbed on top of the car to unload a dump-body truck loaded with cement. I also worked "in the trenches" digging stone-cold earth with a heavy metal stick don't know its name in English while it was snowing and the weather was freezing(but not always so cold because our town was situated on the sea coast where Golf stream current warmed the sea and the land close to the sea).
  I also drove a lot in these dump-body trucks on winter windy snowy roads when it was eternal winter outside and warm inside the cabin of the truck.
  Once I fought with an Armenian boy on one of these dump-body trucks. He, for unknown reason, wished not to work alongside me, but to beat me. He was young and frail (they captured him out in some Armenian mountain village, and he was barely 17), and I drove him down again and again, and he did not wish to quit. Later, we got friends with him. I also had friends among Uzbeks and Kazakhs tramped down by Russians and Ukrainians.
  In Hamburg, I walked with Oliver to the British Consulate to find out whether I could travel to Britain. It was theoretical only, I did not have either money, or time. But I got nowhere. The elegant British woman - diplomat talked a lot to Oliver in elegant English and he translated to me her speech though I understood, but it was just an empty speech. British like the rich visitors, they don't like poor ones, they like respectable.
  Once in my 'kolkhoz' in the first summer after the first year in the Polytechnic, we with one guy decided to go to Estonia on a weekend. Our kolkhoz was not so far from Estonia, we just picked a night train Petersburg-Tallinn, and in the morning we were already in Narva, on the Estonian border. I liked the Estonian cookies (especially with rhubarb) from my previous trips to Estonia with my mother. We decided to buy the liquor 'Vana Tallinn', 'The Old Tallinn' and to have a swim in the Baltic Sea. We did it and walked among the sober Estonians shocking them. At one moment my friend lied in the dust to make his jeans more worn out, used, whitish.
   When I was in the eighth form, my friend invited me to the faculty of math of the Leningrad University where local students were staging something like a seminar for prospective mathematicians. The student assigned to us was a red-haired guy. He laughed all the time he wrote formulas on the blackboard (we did not understand why he was so merry; I couldn't see anything funny about those digits and letters). But we caught his laugh and laughed all the way in metro, finding serious, tired adult people in winter coats and hats immensely ridiculous. In the fall of this year this guy told me there was one extra place left in his new maths school (he was very good student and got all A's in the school), and I filled this place. I was very snobbish studying in this school where Alfred Nobel and my mother also studied (my mother, though, studied Latin and German, and not mathematics -then in this building was a girls' only school)
  Once I've heard this hearty laughter when Sergei Kuryokhin (a Petersburg musician who died early from a rare disease) discussed with Sergei Sholokhov(like Michael Sholokhov, a Soviet Nobel laureate-writer) the theory that Lenin was a mushroom.
  By the way, Rabelais had security concerns also.. He thought Paris' security would be best secured by building a wall of women's cunts around it.
  Currently I work 'on newspapers'. I work on paper newspapers but I read internet newspapers ( not Israeli).
  " January 1999. Rocket summer.
  It had been Ohio winter just now : the doors shut, windows closed, blind glasses because of frost, children ski on the hills, women like black grizzlies in fur coats rumble through slippery icy streets..."
  I prefer to listen to music and not to watch it, as I prefer to read a book and not to watch a movie based on the book.
  The second tape I took from Russia (the first being 'The Garbage') was a Mike Naumenko album. They talk of Tsoi, Paul McCartney, but I never in those years met a mention of Mike. He lived to 36 years, and was killed by bandits near from his home. He liked to drink, and his band was called 'Zoopark', 'The Zoo', possibly, from the song '6 utra', '6 A.M.'. "Grey hazy rain, dawning, 6 A.M." "Our city is like a circus, it's like a zoo.'' "And people hurry to the metro, some to work, some to college, some to the army, some to the road, and me, I don't need to hurry". And the Zoo is prevalent, here, in Israel, or there, in Russia.
  I also had this C Ritchi-Kernigan dream, and thought of LISP AS A Programming Language and read about historic UNIX.
  I keep reading what I wrote in my first copybook and try to find passages I could rewrite here. But mostly crap, I'm trying to understand what I'd been doing, what kind my book shall be. Some more memories figure, but now I think they wouldn't be interesting to anyone. The Black Sea underwater views, big red watermelon, some strange Czechs (I'm trying now to recall was it Crimea or Caucasus, in what year it was, maybe 1968, the year of the Soviet invasion to Czechoslovakia), my first pictures. I was fair-haired but now I'm chestnut-colored, with grey hairs, I was outgoing, now I'm a recluse.
  I remember when I haven't started yet my elementary school, I was very outgoing. In the South, in Crimea or Caucasus, where we spent one month in summers, I rambled around the beach, made friends with people playing volleyball, cards, or just sunbathing, and brought them to my mother (she was already divorced with my father and we were two on those journeys to the South). In Georgia they make white round bread called lavash(in Ashdod, there are many Georgians but the lavash they make is not the same I tasted in those years). They also make shashlyks from rams' meat(also not to be compared with Israeli 'al-a-ash'). Once I was presented with a model of a sail ship. I was very enthusiastic about it but when we took a taxi to our rented home, I forgot it there.
  My library (I bought some books from America over the Internet, including Rabelais in modernized French edition from 1910s, I had to cut pages with a knife because no person bought and read this book in 100 years and they in America have kept it for 100 years waiting for me to come from Russia and buy it) is a nuisance for my parents. My mother says there is no more place to store books. She herself takes books from the local Russian library and, in general, spends much time reading, but I have to steal money to get me new books. By the way, the librarian from the local library complains the bosses are very mean. The town library which is financed by another department is in better situation. But the needs of senior Russian immigrants (young people almost never visit the library -or they don't read, or they read in Hebrew, or they just don't have time spare from work) are reluctantly met. I helped a bit when there was a renovation of this library and got me some old books which went to garbage. Boris has a bit of a job repairing books from there.
  But, as I was in mixed school, naturally, I was intrigued by girls much earlier. I don't remember if I wrote about our baidarka trip in the Middle Russia in the year of the Soviet Olympiad, 1980. This trip was boring to me because there was not any nice girl in sight. But in the winter of that year, in January, I met with a girl who invited me to come to her room during the night. It was in the winter camp, and it was marked by some 'criminal' story, when one guy stole 10 rubles from the pocket of a coat of some senior woman, the curator. As he stole them to buy wine, and I was among those who went for this wine, and drank it (I did not know he stole this money), I became a 'criminal'. The rest of my stay in the camp was stained with this dark act, and I don't remember seeing this girl the rest of the time in the camp. I met her later, and we wrote letters to each other, but it ended somehow. In the spring of this year, I met with a diplomat girl. A friend of my mother had for a friend a consul of Bulgaria in Leningrad. His daughter had her 14th or 15th birthday (like me), and they gave a party .She was called Svetla, and looked a bit Japanese to me. I fell in love with her. We danced to the tune of "Hotel California", and later went to walk near the then just opened hotel for foreigners 'Pribaltyiskaya' built in the form of three-leaf on the board of Finnish bay. The next day, I went to telephone booth outside my house (we did not have a home telephone then), dialed Svetla's number, but there was no reply. I used to walk on Vasiliev Island near that 'diplomatic' house where I met her, in hope to meet her again (this house looked very ugly, even more ugly than the other Soviet architecture, a grey six-storey building guarded by militia), but in vain.
  While studying medicine, I found once in the institute library a book of Michel Foucault 'The Words and Things' -'The Archeology of Humanities'. I looked for humanities; medicine was not enough for me. Once, in 1995, I tried to read this book (Foucault) in the suburb, by the lake, near some drinking company, and they distracted me. 1995 in Russia and Foucault - no go!
  Iosef Brodsky is my mother's favorite poet. She worships him and thinks he's a genius. I have my own history with Brodsky. First time I've heard of him was at Katya's fateful birthday when I came there in my first new suit and looked idiotically in it (since then, I never wore suits). I sat in my suit among a crowd of Katya's friends while she was flirting with some of them, and when she disappeared with one of her fans, her girlfriend began to talk with me about Brodsky who was just awarded a Nobel Prize and said Russians "destroyed" themselves. She said," you would understand me", I did not understand her. I never thought about Russians that way, and I thought myself a Russian(I never before thought about my nationality thinking as I lived in Russia, I was a Russian) and I have not destroyed anybody or myself.
  The next time it was Oliver who was interested in Brodsky. He asked me, in a letter from Germany, to buy some 40 copies of Brodsky's books and to send them to Germany. I did it, and upon his next summer visit, he paid me 50 marks for this (Brodsky was a guest lecturer in his 'Literaturisch Café' in Hamburg, and these books were being sold during his visit). Oliver himself was not impressed so much with Brodsky; 'The Red Hot Chili Peppers' last album 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik' impressed him much more. But I kept to myself two volumes of Brodsky from what I bought for Oliver, and read them. I like better his early verses when he was young and had not emigrated from Russia.
  In Russia people come out to the streets, in companies, to walk on the snow, and greet each other wishing a good New Year, after midnight on the 1st of January. Once, in Jerusalem, several years ago, I went for a walk in the New Year night. A police car stopped near me and I had a talk with policemen (I thought they wanted to arrest me). They asked me what I'm doing here, on the street, so late. I said meeting the New Year. He said, Sylvestre? I did not know what Sylvestre meant (later I found Israelis call the New Year Sylvestre). He began asking me what my interests were. I said listen to the music. Which music? I said Morcheeba and John Cale. He said you are a homo? I said no. We talked about Arab terrorists' dances when they whirl themselves. I danced in this manner for a bit. Then he said we'll bring you the vodka, it could be got nearby, by the corner, and they took off. I stood for a while, and then I decided to go home. The police with vodka, evidently, were not going to reappear.
  It's now holidays in Russia, caniculy (from canine, the Sirius, the Dog Star, though it comes out in July, and not in January). Children don't go to school but I continue with my story. I went to walk and sat by the sea. The beach was totally empty save for two or three passing persons.
  In my own math school, we had one poetess, a girl who wrote a poem about Lenin. Later, she was transferred from our school, I don't know, maybe to some establishment more akin to her talents. I remember I was surprised very much that somebody, a real girl, could choose such a subject, with cult of personality "exposed" in 1956, and then it was 1981 or 1982.
  Recently I've read an article on education by a former president of Prinston, or Harvard, I don't remember. It was called 'What You (Really) need To Learn'(In the American fashion of 'Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover'). The author urges a reform of education, I forgot almost all what he said save several points which I remembered because they concerned my personal style of education. First, foreign languages are no longer necessary. Then, your individuality and GMAT scores don't matter, matter your ability to work with others. And, finally, you don't need to memorize information, you have to know to use and process it.
  And about memorizing: one girl, who studied in America, was amazed a cashier used her calculator to calculate an elementary sum, like 10 plus 6, so machines help Americans but Americans without machines become helpless.
   I don't like the American saying "Time is money", and Paul Valery also doesn't like it. He says time is of maturity, like a good wine. Concerning wines, it's true but I have more weird idea of time which gets me into problems with Americans and everybody else.
  My watch which my mother bought me in Russia back in 2000(Japanese) just before we went here, got broken. I can't set the time. Still, I don't want to buy a new one, I'm going to fix it. Though I don't usually wear this watch, I don't want to part with it. It's cheap, but I don't want a more expensive. I don't see sense in it. I don't see sense in jewels neither though I like to wear a fine silver chain.
  A year ago I began to read 'The Los Angeles Times', remembering lecturing visit to UCLA of Vassilyi Aksyonov, the Russian émigré writer. He wrote enthusiastically about L.A. and UCLA where he had lectured on Greek art. I thought it would be interesting to glance what they're about. I did not mean that to be my immigration to the U.S.A., but in my imagination I flown with the American shuttle which was to be settled in L.A. museum, and tried to imagine what I would be doing there.
  I remember how in Germany Oliver had helped me with getting the job of a dish-washer in his café. I worked for some time washing the dishes, and then boys asked me to help making butterbrods(German and Russian sandwiches), also in the underground of this café. Then I was raised and worked for some time "upstairs" where the dining hall was. Suddenly I noticed the boys working beside me grew hostile. One of them mumbled through his teeth: 'Easy money'. What easy money I was getting, I couldn't understand. This job had nothing alluring for me, I was paid I don't remember how many marks an hour but I wouldn't have profited from this job. I have not drawn so much profit from Oliver rather he'd drawn it from me but I did not argue. I worked for several shifts upstairs, talked with the waiters one of them invited me to the medical faculty of the university where he studied, and then, one day, I dropped a bottle of "Coke" on the floor. The boss immediately sent me back to the dish-washing cave. I sat there for a while then I said I wouldn't work there. I did not go upstairs, and the boss did not go downstairs. Some guy went to and fro, assisting in our 'talks'. I sat there for a while then went home. The guy said to me 'Ciao', I don't know why in Italian.
  We had another cat when we lived in Jerusalem. His name was Zoui, it's some Zen name. His mother was called Woo Wei, it's a name of a some Chinese empress, or her husband, I don't remember. His owner, the American Jew living in Israel for many years, liked Chinese. She even went for a course of Buddhism, but said it was just religion, like any one else.. He was 18, or even 20 when he died. He liked to walk in the wasteland outside our apartment (we lived on the -3 floor, at the bottom of the building, he used to get out through the window in my room, but we had a balcony, and below our apartment was more ground and the road, we lived on a hill). He sat philosophically out there, on the concrete ridge, and enjoyed the fresh air. But once he came home with deep wounds near his neck; some lost dog, evidently, bitten him. There are a lot of dogs whose owners 'sacked' them in Jerusalem. They run wildly about the streets till somebody poison them, or they perish in some fight.
  Some guy whose book on America I recently read in French wrote another book called 'Eulogy of Intellectuals'. He went to a whore house in Las Vegas to study whores, and, having intercourse with one of them, he says he had not any feeling to her, it was for science.
  I don't read the Torah, but I've heard it says you can 'relieve' yourself anywhere when you have the need. Some Russian girls I met, disgustingly told me 'what pigs!' telling me she saw men pissing on the street. But you cannot always find a toilet in time of need. I remember my father and mother made a map of working toilets in Petersburg (then Leningrad). Toilets then were rare, and they often were closed. In my last visits to Petersburg I noticed the toilets were ubiquitous. The toilet question was widely discussed in the Russian media; they argued superiority of civilization is measured by abundance and comfort of its toilets.
  I buy sometimes books in a Russian bookstore. On the second floor there are a lot of old Russian books issued in Soviet times but I am an alone customer there. People buy other books in this bookstore if they buy anything.
  I, for my part, believe the new books aren't always better than the old, despite their flashing cover.
   During the time I'm writing this novel, Sasha, the son of Lilia, has had his service in the army. I followed his progress in my weekly visits to Jerusalem, he went home on Shabbaths and when I went in the end of the week to Jerusalem, I met him there. I myself never visited home during my two-year stay in the North, the Israeli army is better in this respect. Sasha was a good soldier, the bosses liked him. He was promoted to some kind of a sergeant or something like that. After the army, he worked as a guard on an Italian cruise ship in the Mediterranean, and earned money for his study (he wants to be a journalist). In the army, he met a girl (some part Russian, but she made a giyur, a conversion to Judaism, in the army it's simpler), and he keeps her, probably, they'll marry and have babies, so we with Lilia will have to care for them.
  Charles Lamb said Shakespeare cannot be staged despite he wrote plays intended for the theatre. His literature is too subtle for staging; he needs to be read not watched. I also think literature is better than movies; not that I think that I made so good literature but I prefer books to movies.
  The 'Challenger' catastrophe - was it caused by Microsoft PowerPoint?
  I think there are produced nowadays too many papers, reports, paperasse. The real, crucial information is got lost in tons of garbage. People are too far from physical reality, which is being interpreted and controlled for them by intertwining of many intricate systems, interactions and side effects of which are poorly studied and not understood.
  I remember 'Titanik'. It was a harbinger of 20 century disasters, proving technological pride and megalomania are shamed by nature supposedly to be conquered. Ivan Bunin wrote a story where he describes a transatlantic ship ( also of the beginning of 20 century) which envious Devil follows by his devilish look from the waves; he himself couldn't have invented this system, where upper floors are smothered in luxury while at the bottom are tired, hungry, unhappy working people servicing the ship.
  Talking of 'Challenger', I remember another shuttle exploding. I was studying at the math school, and each morning traveled five metro stations from my 'Academicheskaya' to 'Chernyshevskaya' in the centre of the city where my school was located. Walking from the metro on Petra Lavrova boulevard, the 'aristocratic' street, each time I passed the American consulate and read the American news on the newsstand nearby. They were printed on a very good paper, and the pictures were of excellent quality, very colourful. It reminded me of 'America' propagandist U.S. edition in Russian language, some copies of late 60s and early 70s by some wonder landing in our home. I remember optimistic messages of impending flight of seven astronauts among whom, for the first time was a woman, a teacher. Then, one morning, a picture of an explosion in incredibly blue skies - 'Challenger' got blown while taking off. I remember I was deeply upset by this.
   Jews have a strange name for the sun -shemesh, from the ancient Aramaic or some other language, meaning 'servant'. The sun is hard here, in summer everybody tries to hide from it. At one tour, the guide ambiguously reassured his listeners on the bus: the sun dropped into the sea, but tomorrow it will rise again and will shine, as always. The sun is shining; but the Jews are unhappy. When it is snowing or rain, they are unhappy again.
  I played basketball in my high school, but my height was not enough to continue so I quit. Actually, while I played, I did not care for results, I liked to run around and throw the ball. Sometimes, I hit but I liked more the games themselves, we moved to sport halls around the city and met with different teams (young, of course, of our age), and I was no basketball star, actually, I was barely noticed by my playmates and the coach. The basketball helped to shape me, we did a lot of exercises, run, etc but it did not give me the ambition to be a great sportsman or something. In my medical college, I played ping pong, but also not for results. We there were not disciplined as in other sections, and ours was a fainéant section. We went there when we liked, and two guys beside me have not graduated from this medical college.
  Jews are not satisfied not only with the sun, in Jerusalem I met a woman who spoke of the moon with contempt: she is round! They hate square things, straight things, triangle things, wood, what not. Though, Pushkin also did not like the moon. It bored him. While I like the sun, the moon, the stars, fog, rain, snow(I like the sun in winter, after the rain, I like the rain when it's not too long, I like to remember snow in Russia being away from it).
  Does the game 'The Art of Warcraft' make you smarter? I believe not (like any other video game). Reading on the causes of the first world war (with the second it's clearer), I found out the politicians (of Europe) acted 'unimaginatively'. I meet often the examples of this 'unimaginative' thinking and acting especially when it has to do with wars or military people, or international relations (on whatever level, on level of ordinary men as well as on high diplomatic level).
  No more think outside the bun, no more art of warcraft, no more same sex marriage; companies' 'creativeness' in Israel is perhaps more 'limited' than in America and rather 'specific' - Orange, my cell company, issued rubber pads for cups or jazzway (I call that the thing I make my coffee in), on which is written in English: Smile, or Explore, or Listen: it looks more like computer instructions; Orange is creative mainly in duping its customers out of their money; I bought a simple cell, without any programs, without internet, without anything, while Lilia was persuaded by a company man to buy something for which she pays every month fifty shekels for three years(internet, what not, though she doesn't need the internet). Her children lost their cells; she had to give them her 'advanced' devices and uses her old one; but she still has to pay.
  Still, I have my morning cup of coffee; I don't need for it to be written on the cover think outside of the bun or outside of your mom, I don't believe creative messages on T-shirts or anything else spur creativity. I prefer T-shirts without anything written on them.
  'Educe' means in Latin to 'evoke', to 'draw out', education sits in you, but you are unaware about it, every person has education in him much more than all universities, there is no need to go to Princeton for education. With advent of internet, there emerged unlimited opportunities for self-education, but few know about it and envy those high-class, affluent people who get themselves into Princeton or Harvard. There is no need to envy; there are public libraries, there are computers, there is television, there is life. I am unhappy about my own failed educational enterprises, but to think about it more deeply, they taught me about the world more than if I ever graduated. To educe, to remember what you were taught and what you learned on your own. Now I'm learning to write as well. Writing helps to clarify thoughts, you understand yourself better.
  The education what kinds of it are there? There is Princeton education, there is Jewish religious education, there is technical education, and there is historical-philological education or 'lettres'. I think the formal education is not necessary. Of course, if you want to be a doctor, you won't do without studying medicine. But if you want to be a writer, historical-philological education is not a must. Mathematics can help, but so medicine can help. Rabelais, besides being a doctor, managed to procure himself a priestly post. And he did not study at Sorbonne; he devoted his best humor to mocking Sorbonne.
  (Nowadays Sasha studies for his B.A. for three years. Lilia says three years are not enough; he has to get a second degree to get a decent job. In Israel, decent jobs start with a lot of education)
  An interesting experiment in the sphere of education was conducted in the beginning of the 19th century in Russia. The princely persons needed a humanitarian education, and Speransky, a liberal statesman, organized a lyceum in Tsarskoe Selo ('The Tsar's Village'), now Pushkin, some 20 kilometers south of Petersburg, where the tsar had one of his palaces. The princes finally did not go there, but among the first thirty or something people admitted there, was a future genius Alexandre Pushkin (he got there by a remote chance). Speransky soon was revealed as a traitor and banished (or executed?) but his creation, the lyceum, worked for years, producing the first graduation class in 1817, all(all!) boys proved to have talents in all spheres of state and private careers, and Pushkin was recognized as a genius poet near the end of his course by a maitre-poet Derjavin. The idea of lyceum (though the next decades of its existence are dim) was established in the Russian consciousness. I remember when I entered the math school, my friend, the boy who helped me to get there, dreamily talked of this 'natural sciences' lyceum. For me, it was not a lyceum; I did not study Latin or Greek, or even French or German there. But I like to remember this school.
  By the way, Pushkin did not go on to study at the university. But this did not scuttle his literary career. By the way, his vocabulary is estimated at 20000 words, not so much; but they were enough for him to leave ten volumes of poetry and prose works (before the society got better of him).
  Their journalier activity reminds me often of Gulliver, not when he came to guingms, and not when he came to giants, but exactly to lilliputs. They arise in the morning and go to their jobs, and their jobs consist in inventing the new, untried, and rearranging the old, tried, small ropes by which to harness their prey so he wouldn't move for the time being. This is called journalism, economics, international relations, and politics. If I were the sole Gulliver, these operations would succeed. But I'm not the sole Gulliver. These operations affect too many people, and side effects are inevitable.
  The classical Western way is simple: grab the resources to use them, crash all resistance, throw the remains to garbage, discover new resources, and repeat the cycle. The question is what would happen if all the resources are exhausted (or if the resistance destroys the West). They could argue resources are inexhaustible, there is space, there is Internet, there are computers and other machines, and there is the human psyche. But what if they all fail? What will happen then?
  Jonathan Swift, was he a Communist? I thought he helped some prominent Tories in their struggle against the Whigs. But his picture of a flying governmental island which simply 'sits' on rebellious burgs, is it Communistic? Is it 'real-life picture', in the sense that elites fly somewhere in their secluded safe places and media spaces, to squeeze against discontents living in regular towns and villages, in rented or their own apartments, going on regular jobs ?
  I don't want to single out the West, as a demonic essence. There were invasions from the East too. If Arabic countries were more organized and 'civilized', probably, they would launch an offensive to the West, too, actually, Islamic fundamentalism is such attempt. And there is nothing wrong in getting the resources, in expansion; this is the sense of progress. But the true progress is in 'humane' treatment of resources, so that they would not harm ones for the advantage of others.
  I worked yesterday on my job, run about, worried, then I imagined myself standing on the London bridge, looking at the water, among the morning crowd of hurrying pedestrians, not knowing why they so hurry and whence. I sat outside the door of the warehouse where I worked, and the company 'Russian' woman said in passing me: 'A German cross?' I thought why German crosses, I don't speak German; I don't know how their crosses look like. I think it was a Valery recital, maybe some other French. But it had no connection to the French either. I remember I liked to look on Neva river, on bridges, and banks, and I adopted a stargazer name and attitude in the internet, some years ago, because I like to gaze at stars also(though I'm not an astronomer).
  My last impressions of America through the prism of her coastal papers. Battalions of military women on a picture (beside battalions of military men), super-puper F-35 with external weapons, America is on guard.
  On my Job, one young Black said to me how I could work he fed up with the work. I said do you believe in God? He said yes. I said God ordered to work. He did not believe. I said when Eve fucked with the Snake, God condemned Adam to work in the sweat. He said no, but other guy, also Black said yes. And still another Black said it was the apple. Yes, I said, the apple, the Snake said when you eat it you become as Gods knowing all. This first young Black, Shlomo his name, he goes to the army after Tuesday, Tuesday is his last day on the job. He decided to quit smoking, still he asked me for cigarettes.
  But, thinking about it, why God condemned Adam? Why work is a damned job? I don't believe it. I believe work is good.
  Some time ago we with Lila visited The Temple of God's Grave. There was a huge queue to the grave itself consisting mainly of the Russian 'tourists'. The guide allotted each visitor a very measured time, hurried them up, and, in general, treated them as rams. Later, I went to the toilet in the Old City, near the Jaffa Gate. There was a child and his father, Russians, and the father said to the child something about 'these pissuars'. I did my pissing, went out, and sat on the stone wall. The child went outside after me, joyous and curious, and his father mumbled something about 'this Erushalaim' and shouted to the boy: 'where are you going, Artem?' I repeated: 'Where are you going, Artem?' It was really interesting to me where he was going now, and in general, what he was up to.
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