“Socrates said, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’ But the examined one … is no bargain” – My most favorite take-away from Woody Allen’s latest ‘Café Society’
In my building, the walls are so thick that you cannot hear your neighbors. I know couple of them by the things they display- their well groomed pets, and cars that silently stop behind me when I try to reach the crosswalk. I found each family owns multiple cars, at least one for each family member.
The road ahead is never empty. There are cars always moving or waiting to move- cars in all shapes and sizes, normal ones and the not that normal ones that you only find in technology loving Silicon Valley. People hardly walk on foot, unless they need something at the nearby chain stores and places that sell all-you-can-eat fast food. In fact, all my pictures that I clicked after moving here have minimal human sign. As if the whole world around me has been packed in small boxes that function only on wheels.
Personally I do love living here. It is not crowded with lifeless technology and huge architecture. But it feels like home. I love well manicured streets in foggy evenings when I occasionally meet a few known faces enjoying solitude and the fading ritual of walking. I love that you can see same character over and over but there is anonymity that city life tenderly gifts you.
I entered August after watching Woody Allen’s Café society. A film that carried all Woody Allen’s trademarks- tangled relationships, dilemmas, and philosophical quips that occupy your brain for a while. I kept thinking about the film, and some witty lines about life while examining the one I own during a vacation in August.
For a while, I am taking these small vacations. My definition of small vacation is like a occasional curve in a straight lifeline. I don’t have to plan a lot before going away, and I don’t have to hold on to my vacation memory after returning to normalcy of regular life.
This month I lived in small cottage by the ocean, cooked delicious meals, read a book and wrote while observing the ocean water breaking on couple of solid rocks, inside out and outside in, continuously. From far, that scene through the window felt like a desktop screensaver- only difference was, I knew, reality at times looked more picture perfect in a deceptive way.
As I grow older, I realize I hoard moments from my past, even though I know perhaps they will never return. Moments that were never photographed, moments that I painted with colored pens in my journal, moments that I don’t see the way my close people do, moments that gave me wounds and made me stronger, and even moments that made me so helpless that they needed special mentions in all journals. As if I have a longer past, and a shorter future to look forward to.
I am slowly trying to de-clutter, and change my surroundings. Like this August is not like other Augusts of my past. I have changed it, made it lighter and happier. Though end of summer is not always a happy time: the heat blurs my vision, my thoughts dry like those dried grass fields around me. And when the leaves change color, I quietly start feeling happy, because autumn has always been my most favorite season. But this year, August too is good.
As August progresses, I realize I have four months left to make this year a remarkable one. I know a lot of things are going to appear/disappear in the coming months. I notice how I am turning into someone else at every passing minute. Yet there is a longing to pause, and smell the present. Maybe after a long time, I am excited about the future as much as about the present, I am not using the future anymore to escape the present.
There is a river close to where I live now. Every time I walk by it, I see how calm it becomes when the yellow sun walks over. When the wind blows, two willow branches touch the water, make some ripples. Other times, they all worship silence together. At another side, close to the water, I see countless snails hanging from small plants, motionless in the sun. Time does not affect them at all. The change of time does no wonder. Sometimes I want to be like them, I want to hang on. But most of the times, I move forward. Because no matter how beautiful the present looks, you just cannot stop walking.