Archives for January 2011

I can’t get in

Near Olite, in Spain, there is a ruined castle. I decide to visit the place and as I am standing there before it, a man at the door says:
 
‘You can’t come in.’
 
My intuition tells me that he is saying this for the pure pleasure of saying ‘No’. I explain that I’ve come a long way, I try offering him a tip, I try being nice, I point out that this is, after all, a ruined castle…suddenly, going into that castle has become very important to me.
 
‘You can’t come in,’ the man says again.
 
There is only one alternative: to carry on and see if he will physically prevent me from going in. I walk towards the door. He looks at me, but does nothing.
 
As I am leaving, two other tourists arrive and they too walk in. The old man does not try to stop them. I feel as if, thanks to my resistance, the old man has decided to stop inventing ridiculous rules.

Sometimes the world asks us to fight for things we do not understand and whose significance we may never discover. But we always know when some rules need to be broken.

Falta um tijolo

Durante uma viagem, recebi um fax de minha secretária.

“Quando entregaram o material, ficou faltando um tijolo de vidro para a reforma da cozinha”, dizia ela. “Envio o projeto original, e o jeito que o pedreiro dará para compensar a falta”.

De um lado, havia o desenho que minha mulher fizera: fileiras harmoniosas, com abertura para a ventilaí§í£o.
Do outro lado, o projeto que resolvia a falta do tijolo: um verdadeiro quebra-cabeí§as, onde os quadrados de vidro se misturavam sem qualquer estética.

“Comprem o tijolo que falta”, escreveu minha mulher. Assim foi feito, e o desenho original foi mantido.

Naquela tarde, fiquei pensando muito tempo no ocorrido; quantas vezes, pela falta de um simples tijolo, deturpamos completamente o projeto original de nossas vidas.

Character of the week: Jane Austen

A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.
It is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage.

A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer.

I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle.

A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies. For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?
Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.

Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. Husbands and wives generally understand when opposition will be vain.

How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!

Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.

Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of.

I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.

No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment.

If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.

Jane Austen
(16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist

The missing brick

Once, when I and my wife were traveling, I received a fax from my secretary.

‘When they delivered the material, there was one glass brick missing for the work on the kitchen renovation,’ she said.
‘I’m sending you the original plan as well as the plan the builder has come up with to compensate for it.’

On the one hand was the design my wife had made: harmonious lines of bricks with an opening for ventilation.
On the other hand was the plan drawn up to resolve the problem of the missing brick: a real jigsaw puzzle in which the glass squares were arranged in a higgledy-piggledy fashion that defied aesthetics.

‘Just buy another brick,’ wrote my wife. And so they did and thus stuck to the original design.

That afternoon, I thought for a long time about what had happened; how often, for the lack of one brick, we completely distort the original plan of our lives.