Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On Choices and Preferences

(In which I look for a piece of me.)
I haven’t gotten over the unfinished reading of Coelho’s last book. Once, I was communicating (through SMS) with the friend who gave me the book as a present.
“How’s your reading?”
“Honestly, I stopped reading it.”
“Why? Isn’t it beautiful?”
To get rid of explaining how I view his work which resulted to an undesirable conversation the first time I did with another person, I just said “Fashion’s not my thing. And so is showbiz.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Oh! The book is actually good. But in a reader’s life, there should be at least one instance when he/she won’t like the book. It happens. It was such a pity that it happened between me and an expensive book.”
“So that book’s not your thing?”
“Then what do you like in books?
“Hmmm… it’s in the subject, the characters. And sometimes, the setting. Why don’t you guess?”
“Look. I guessed you would like that book and you didn’t. I’m not good at guessing.”
“I am asking you to guess now.”
“I can’t.”
“You can.”
I knew he would give in. After a few minutes, he replied. “I guess you would like a story about a girl with multiple personalities falling in love with different guys.”
I was surprised with the answer. He likes multiple, doesn’t he? It took me a while to type my response on the phone.
“That’s a very imaginative guess. Interesting enough but not even close to the real thing.”
“That’s what you get for making me guess.”
He’s right. I forced him to guess and got a very surprising answer. And its element of being surprising is almost insulting.
“So what is it?”
“I like things that concern human beings - real human beings. Well, I like Harry Potter. But I enjoy books that reflect the reality of human life – no matter how hokum or dark it is. I like the story about artists – painters, musicians, writers, photographers, dancers and okay, theater actors – the arts I’m connected to. But not the showbiz and fashion industry.”
“Got it.”
I have always had this thing for artists. Have I told you X is a poet? I remembered him writing a poem in a crude handwriting that I have to learn another alphabet to decode it. Right, I like artists.
I continued reading the next paragraphs of the book I just bought in a bookstore where they sell cheap secondhand books. It’s a story about a married violinist who fell in love with a ballerina. And the ballerina fell in love with his married son. Interesting.
I was about to sit comfortably when I remembered something. I grabbed my phone and typed. I should know why he thinks a story about a philandering girl with a complex psychological makeup fits me.

Currently reading:
The Four Temperaments by Yona Zeldis McDonough