Monday, June 20, 2016

Joyce Junkies

“Psst, Persephone!” A voice called out under my window. I looked outside into the Amsterdam night. A friend stood on the broad pavement and held up a small paper bag at me.  The bag contained his prized collection, the audio recording of James Joyce’s Ulysses, a 22 cd unabridged version, and he was lending it to me. It was midnight and he had an early morning flight.  He just needed to drop it off for my wellbeing; he’s a very caring individual.

“I used to smoke weed and watch the giraffes from my balcony.” So said she who could do that as she lived near the zoo.  Nope, not on this side of the city.  My fellow Joyce junky lives across the street from me and was the first visitor in my apartment. “Jesus,” he said sinking into the unstable sofa, “what the hell happened to you?” We hadn’t seen each other in ages.

“Listen, we need to meet at the Hema for a one euro coffee.” My Joyce Junky friend said. “It’s a great place at 16:00. You can watch the regulars. It’s utterly fascinating.”  I’ve arranged with my office hours that this is definitely part of my job description but I have yet to take this item up. This will be part of my duty as “finder and negotiator of office art at a budget price.” But I have to wait for a sms when he gets back from his other home in the north. I expect it will be something along the lines of “Made it to Hema, am awaiting your arrival, siren pastry wailing at me, have you a euro in pennies, got the table with the view of the mirror, spotted twelve regulars, no messiah as yet walked in the door to my knowledge, will you confirm?”

I am keeping his 22 cd collection behind glass, so my ornery Siamese cat won’t bother it. She’s good at nosing out value and demonstrating a potential act of destruction, leaving partial chaos behind, half torn book jackets, cracked pots, etc. I listen to a track or two when I cook and dine, chewing slowly.

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