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August 10, 2008


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Maybe the surliness is necessary, like that serpentine glass barrier on the counter.

I sort of lost it going into one of these new soap stores that we have in the U.S., -- layer cakes of translucent glycerin; dimensional slabs of hue, yet again in cake form; spherical, perfumed dusty pastel bath bombs, like nude, yet to be packaged pigments and oils with something of the factory floor about them. The store seemed like a pastry shop with the difference that the customer is free to grub about in the wares, -- sniff, prod, jiggle, juggle, and, like I hear they do in Europe, bring the dog in.

Interesting how, but for the surliness of the waitrons, you, the person seem more constant over time than the institution. Perhaps it a point of view thing. I wonder if, as a very old man, I won't revisit the house of my childhood. Seeing it standing very much as it always had, I would notice a difference in the tint of the paint, a change to the shrubbery, an unidentifiable change in the light and I might feel sure that it was I who had been more constant.


Do I remember correctly that you had to pay first and then you got your goods at the counter? Which is hugely inconvenient when you don't speak Hungarian (apart from a couple of words) and want to point at things that look delicious. Although at that time--1986 or so--things looked better than they actually tasted, probably due to sugar and chocolate shortages.

I went back to Budapest for work (doing a film shoot) after the communist regime but didn't do much sightseeing, being totally wasted after very long stressful days.


Bill: I have remained more constant in some ways--my fundamental object in going there has more so than their motivation in having me--but as it does have 113 years on me, I'm sure that's only true of some of these more turbulent stretches.

I've been doing a lot of sorting of photo albums in the last year. A shocking thing that just keeps happening is that I see a photo of myself at 3, or 7, or 12, or 22--and I look so young, yet I swear it's this very self that lived the day, and whose eyes I see looking back at me in every mirror I pass. I feel like I remember everything about how I thought it through.


Mare: I think that the ever popular Jeg Kave is the one you have in mind. Very confusing, really, to anyone who wasn't damned clear on what they wanted, including 2nd-generation me! My mum would love Kremes there, something I to this day have yet to completely see the all. I wished to get them for her there, but even as an adult it took a lot of internal peptalks before I could talk myself into going in and facing a whole other kind of surly waitresses.

Eastern europe had a lot of pay-first, get-stuff-after affaires. Such a killjoy: you could never go, Oh *THESE* look good, let's have some of them too!


Ah, you're there!

I look forward to seeing Hungary through your eyes. Remembering everything so well is a gift; not everyone can look at the past through the eyes of today, and also remember the person they were. This post reminds me of Pamuk's remembrances of Istanbul: its changes, and his own.

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