Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dreams of Proust

No, seriously.

I had a dream last night that I was dating a cute guy who had read the entirety of In Search of Lost Times seven times. He said that he kept reading it again and again because it was so funny.

Normally, I'd consider that sort of dream more of a nightmare, mostly because it involved my dating someone. As far as I'm concerned, the principal reason for staying with one's partner is that if you don't, you'll suddenly be single, and you might slip up and start dating again. One shudders at the very thought.

He insisted on calling it A Remembrance of Things Past, and I thought that was odd, even though that was the title that appeared on the volumes that were so prevalent in used book stores twenty years ago. Used book stores themselves used to be a lot more prevalent twenty years ago, but perhaps that's just because I lived in Boston at the time. I don't think it's just that, though. Even in Boston, the dissemination of media became less eclectic during my stay, which was largely before the Internet. When I first came to town, for example, you could not swing a dead cat without hitting a revival movie house. When I left, they were almost all gone.

Sometimes I think of all the overeducated young men who will not find their way to a showing of "Les Enfants de Paradis" on the large screen and will, consequently, never see Arletty say, "C'est tellement simple, l'amour." It might be sad. And I can't help imagining that if I were to return to Boston and Cambridge today, at least a few of the used book stores I used to frequent would now be converted to Starbucks.

When I went to see "Les Enfants de Paradis" it was at the Somerville revival movie house, (Whose exact name I was about to say I didn't remember, but then I had a moment of diligence and did a little research. It was the Somerville Theater. Despite what the article says about a long-term lease and growing attendance, it closed down. It reopened, but it's no longer a revival house.) and when I gave my ten-movie pass to the usher to punch, he laughed and said that they weren't making any money that night because everyone who showed up to the movie was a regular customer using a pass. I'm pretty sure I bought popcorn, though.

My dream date told me, in a decidedly abashed voice, that he had only read A la Recherche in French once. He said it as if he were imparting his deepest, darkest, most will-he-still-like-me-once-he-knows secret. He seemed disappointed when I told him that I didn't think literature in translation was even a venial sin. All the same, I decided that I had to break up with him, in part because my own secrets were deeper, darker, and much more fun than his, but mostly because I wasn't sure that I could handle a future full of evenings spent next to a man chuckling over Proust.

Fortunately, I was spared having to break up with him by waking up, but if I ever find myself in that situation in real life (perish the thought), I'm pretty sure that I'll rise from his bed one Saturday morning, and, bending down to kiss his half-sleeping face, say, "C'est tellement simple, l'amour." He'll smile drowsily, and I'll walk out the door. Then I'll block his calls and e-mails.

1 comment:

  1. But "Paris est tout petit pour ceux, qui comme [vous], s'aiment d'un aussi grand amour"... ;-)