david heti - thoughts

David Heti - thoughts

terrible! why this train ride is terrible

Oh my god. Just sat down and already this guy's breathing like that. Just shut up. Shut up. On a train for six hours and it's quiet and every four fucking seconds I have to hear you exhale. Well, It's inappropriate--it's inappropriate and it's disgusting and unbefitting and unbecoming (obviously, if you're sick or disgusting, that's different, but this is a young man). Every time you breathe I'm going to go or have to go ugh involuntarily and audibly and make my little wretch so that you know what it's like but will you know what it's like? What kind of self-awareness must this/one have who's able to go about like this for an entire life maybe? (BIg maybe.)

One time in third-year undergrad I ended up sitting beside this ex's cousin in a Philosophy of History class and it turned out that he would whistle each time he exhaled. Three hours of lecture and every exhale a whistle. But I was paying for that course and I was interested in the material and all I could experience that (Jesus--shut up) whole time was this outrage. But he was a lovely person, seemingly, otherwise and I didn't want to wrong him or even not get to know him but at a certain point (about maybe three weeks in) I told him I'm sorry, but I can't sit beside you anymore because (and this guy's phone clicks) your nose whistles when you exhale and I can't focus on the lecture. He looked a bit stunned or stupefied or dumbfounded, but I suppose I still don't known why. Perhaps because of my incredible, possibly inexcusable behaviour? Or maybe because he'd been, up to that point, unaware? I don't know. But he probably knew, that is, how he breathed.

Anyway, it turned out that years later he'd end up working at one my favourite cafés in the city (Toronto) and I would feel awkward and uncomfortable going in each time to get a coffee. But was I not to go? I was already only going to that café because of my not being able to go to another café on account of an old roommate working there who, just before storming out of the apartment for good one evening (actually, a friend of hers sort of had to come by and take her gently by the shoulders and turn her to the door and say, "come on, it's time to go now"), had gone pretty much bat shit crazy (not an expression I'm fond of, but one quite apropos), smashing plates and overturning kitchen tables and cursing a lot in the finest of the finest French. (It's a long story, but she'd come home late from a shift and I gave her an ultimatum, threatening to take her to court.)

Anyway, obviously, the worst part of this terrible breather--or, just the breathing, really--beside me is that you can't help but wonder what the hell it is that you do of which you're similarly, wholly terribly un-self-aware possibly. Or is it maybe just a case of not caring? (Is he a cruel person? Or a stupid one? That really is the question.) (One time, though, on a bus from London through to Amsterdam, this guy behind me kept fidgeting and jostling my seat and then when we all got out for a stop it turned out that he was very tall and he apologized and said he would never take a bus like that again but that he simply couldn't afford a better way to transport himself. He was the loveliest person in the world, in turned out! Then each and every jostle thereafter was just a little pleasure, a little reminder of moment of self-awareness.) (That's no typo.)

Anyway, this'll pass the time. This'll have passed the time.