Go Now!

Posted: 15. March 2013 in Uncategorized
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This is an essay I wrote to be published somewhere else. I took the liberty of running it through Google Translate, converting it to English. I sometimes do that, just for the fun of it. This time it turned out quite well, so I decided to bring it here. Somehow lyrical. Only did a little editing. It makes sense.


Spend a morning in Odd Town.

Less than half a year ago I lived in Odd Town, had my address in a western suburb, public housing, the last of a series of blocks with view to a busy bypass. A couple of seventy square meters, bathroom, kitchen and broom closet.

I lived with a cat and wife.

The cat and wife I still have. The rest is swapped with a pretty thatched cottage on West Funen, where the road bends. The story of how it came out like this is long and complicated. It can happen I will unveil it underway in these records.

But here I sit on the bench outside Odd Town City Hall. Flakhaven with its people is quivering in the sunlight in front of me. It is March and there is still frost in the air.

I am the prodigal son, a refugee crossing his tracks.

It is far from the first time I'm sitting here, but this is the first time since I fled. Well, escape may not be the correct term to use, some might find it a little dramatic, but even so. It did not feel like escape then. It was not that my wife and I were forced to pack all necessary belongings and leave. It was all done in good order, everything was planned, a fairly deliberate act.

So, why do I feel like this, as I'm sitting here in Odd Town city center, in the shadow of the cathedral, one morning in March? As if I were a refugee… Is it the noise? The unfathomable, eternal cacophony of people and their vehicles resonating through the old streets, merging, weaving and swirling around the stone bridge. Is it confusion? The fact that everything is in motion. Each man – the young woman with her pram and iPhone, the guy with the dog and bags – moving from one place to another. Along the way. On the road.

I sit here and do not have a chinaman's chance of knowing where she is going with her pram or where he comes from with his dog, yet I can relate. It is as if their presence and their rapid movements through the city are pulling me. As if, in a place, there is a voice whispering "Go now!"

Do not misunderstand me. It is not that kind of voice. It's more like a feeling. This collective common decision to move, walk, bike, run, is pulling me, despite the fact that I'm good here on the bench. I'm neither hungry or thirsty or need a pat on the cheek.

And as I sit there, I know that I am not part of this.

I have no job, no dependent children, no million debt, no liability. I have no ambitions, no dreams and fantasies about growth and values, and I have no lies or illusions that I am forced to maintain. All this I have put behind me long ago. The only things I own are an old car and a pair of sneakers, my wife's driving the former, the latter I am wearing.

But what I do not own in goods and gold I have in time. In fact, I have every minute of my life, night as well as day, completely available. Time is a currency. No, let us for once not take an economist's view – after all, not all things can be converted into currency. When you say "time is money" it is a gross generalization and actually completely wrong, because time was here before money and it would therefore be more truly to say "Money is time". Time is the source of any currency.

And here I am, five minutes to twelve, considering the teeming life in Odd Town city center. The collective joint movement, in and out, around and between each other, and what I see is a lot of people who seem to lack the one thing I possess, namely time. People have not to hurry if they have plenty of time. They have put their time into money. So now, they are busy.

And that is the difference between me and the young woman with the pram. I'm in no hurry.

Yet their movement, their bustle, is drawing me.

Perhaps it's a subconscious longing to take part that makes me uneasy. Gods know that I do not have any conscious desire to be a part of it, but I know from many hours of therapy, the subconsciousness can have a completely different agenda. Maybe it's my genes. I am after all born into this community, even though I'm sitting here, disabled and isolated. Maybe it's not me who yearns for the community, but the community that reaches out to me with its "Go now!".

It is stress. A major reason why I'm sitting here, early retirement, deferred, on the sideline, parked on social support. Stress.

I feel like a refugee, for it was this stress I fled. The fact that even though I had plenty of time here in the big city's loudness, I always felt drawn by the collective bustle. When I lived here, I felt it.

I know now, in hindsight's clinical light, that this unrest plagued me. And I'm glad that fate, gods or whoever it was, have been gracious to me and given me the opportunity that now means that I can shrug, take my mobile, and call my wife and ask, if we are not about to go home. Not to a home in the suburbs with view to a busy bypass, but to a small thatched cottage in the middle of the country.

I love the city. The sense of movement, life and bustle. But I can live without it. The Outskirts suit me better.

Comments
  1. Stardancer says:

    :up:Well done.You express very well the loneliness of those who, although they may look able-bodied, don't work because they can't, Martin. Very few people understand that.

  2. coisart says:

    i liked the read itself.. :up: you know that moment while You're reading and it pulls you in and getting to the end seems way too quickly leaving you wanting more…

  3. Pineas2 says:

    Would give it to my wife who cannot work due to her asthma… but she won't read it. 😦

  4. Aqualion says:

    It's an experiment. I know, it's a bit rough and grammatical incorrect, but it's because it's digitally translated, without editing. I actually cinsidered translating this for you, actually translating or re-writing the text in English, but when I had run it through Google Translate it became self-aware. It's not the same text as when I wrote it in Danish. Something has happened. It's… erm… complete.

  5. gdare says:

    Thoughts of someone who has found a peace with himself and world around him. Even if you don't really feel in peace all the time, this is what this article tells about you :)"Flakhaven with its people…" Flakhaven is…???

  6. Aqualion says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    "Flakhaven with its people…" Flakhaven is…???

    Flakhaven is the original City Square of Odense (AKA Odd City) where we have the city hall and St. Canute's Cathedral. Back in the thirteenth century it was one of Northern Europe's largest market places. Like the rest of Odense, it's history goes over 1500 years back. Odense is common tongue for 'Odins Vé' which is Old Norse for The Shrine of Odin, and though there is no historical or archaeological proof of this, it's believed that there used to be a shrine for Odin (king of the Old Norse Gods) somewhere in the facility. Obviously, I'd say, otherwise why would they call their town Odense? Most of the legendary ancient Norse Kings recided in Odense.On the picture, you see Odense City Hall to the right, and in front of it (right next to those white vans) you'll see the bench on which I was sitting while writing the above text. I believe the photo was taken from the tower of the cathedral.

  7. Spaggyj says:

    This is really good. A little hard to read as you've not formatted any paragraphs, mind you, but I enjoyed it a lot. It's honest and poetic without being presumptuous or arrogant.

  8. Aqualion says:

    Thanks. It's right out of Google Translate, only edited a few phrases. Guess it could do with a slight formatting. Yeah, you're absolutely right. I'll fix it right away!

  9. gdare says:

    Thanks for the info :up:Two days ago I was talking with one colleague from a company I am working in, he is Danish who moved to Canada about 45-50 years ago. He was living in some small town just north of Horsens. I remembered you immediately :cheers:

  10. garlingmatthews says:

    Me like. There are a couple of sentences that don't work. I tried copying and pasting, but apparently iPad Opera doesn't allow that. Grr.

  11. garlingmatthews says:

    I shall. It is generally very good. Way better than my Swedish. Now I'll have to turn the computer. :left:

  12. Aqualion says:

    You're welcome to correct me. One thing is writing something in English. I can do that. It takes some time, and I often have to check out the grammar and punctuation, but the results are fairly readable. Another thing is writing something in Danish and then translate it. It does not come easy to me. That's why I'm reluctant to translate my Danish texts. However, I do sometimes run texts through a digital translator. Mostly it turns out like utter rubbish, making no sense at all, but this one actually went through without problems, almost word by word the same as the original.Did a little editing when I 'paragraphed' it (courtesey of Kimmie), but I am not a professional translator, I just correct what I can see. Of course there will still be oddities, grammatically or linguisticallly. After all, English is not my first language (or my second or my third).Feel free to suggest corrections.

  13. Furie says:

    I lived with a cat and wife.

    You've been corrupted, I see. Mentioning the cat first… :insane:

  14. Aqualion says:

    Originally posted by Furie:

    You've been corrupted, I see. Mentioning the cat first…

    “Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”- Robert A. HeinleinOn a note, I take it the 'cat and wife' phrase is like this because this arrangement of the nouns sounds better in Danish than the opposite. 'Kat og kone' – putting the shorter noun before the longer, instead of 'Kone og kat'. It's a qestion of rhythm. Doesn't matter, though.PS: Took the liberty of running the text through one more time. Did some editing. I'm sure more could be done, but it's good for now. It's good training for me. You guys have asked me many times to give some examples of old things I have written. I'd like to do that, but I haven't got the proper training. Yet.

  15. Furie says:

    In Irish a "cone o' cat" sounds like a savage way to eat an ice cream. :left:

  16. Aqualion says:

    Yeah, it's funny that even though you find many words from Old Norse in modern English, 'kone' means something entirely different in the two languages. Not many wives are cone shaped, are they? Not on this planet anyway.:D

  17. Furie says:

    I'd say it evolved from crone, or vice versa. :whistle:What? Guys were like that, back then.

  18. Aqualion says:

    😉 Plausible.As far as I know it comes from indo-european, the source of all Continental lingo, 'guen-on', later evolves to the Persian 'xena' and the Central-european 'kwunon' (becomes 'queen' in English) all meaning plain 'woman'. This becomes 'kona' in Scandinavia, a woman who belongs to a man. Every other woman is only 'kvinna', the words are related, but there's a difference. That is kone/kvinde in modern Danish. Your 'woman' is also related. Don't know about 'wife', though. Probably from the same word. Slight differences in local dialects have great effect in the larger picture, as far as I've learned.'Krone' is the name of the coin and has been for more than a millenium (since around 995, Forkbeard Era) because they all have the king's (or queen's) crown depicted on one side, and 'krone' means crown, obviously.

  19. Aqualion says:

    In Danish your crone would be 'kælling'. Now that comes from Old Norse 'kerling' from the word 'karl', common Scandinavian for man. The word more than suggests that it is fair to doubt the true gender of the woman. I don't know how the Danish currency and an old witch really compare. Except in the pronounciation. You could claim that it makes sense in our day and age where the coins have a portrait of our queen. She's old, you know. Nuff said.

  20. Furie says:

    Queen, crown, krone, crone. Nuff said. 😉

  21. garlingmatthews says:

    Sorry, not been on the computer much the last few days, but I have not forgotten.

  22. Pineas2 says:

    Wife is probably related to weib, a german word for woman. It is separated from fruwe, woman of a high social position. Fruwe developped to Frau (woman, also Mrs.) and Fräulein (young woman/spinster)

  23. Aqualion says:

    In Danish we have 'frue' and 'frøken' (mrs. and miss.) too. From German. Danish is just as much influenced by Germanic sources than Norse. More than Swedish and Norwegian. Then again it's funny that the word for 'young woman' is completely different in North European languages. Danish: pige. Swedish: flicka. Norwegian: jente. English: girl. German: Mädchen. Peculiar.

  24. Adonisali says:

    Thanks for explaining the Persian “Xena“

  25. Aqualion says:

    Originally posted by Adonisali:

    Thanks for explaining the Persian “Xena“

    More precisely proto-Persian. Xena develops into the Slavic zena/zonka/zinka and versions on that theme. I don't think you'll find 'xena' in modern Persian.My cat's name is Xena, by the way. Not that she's Persian or anything. She is, however, definitely, beyond any doubt, female. And she does hold a severe grudge against any feline representative of the male gender. Many a neighborhood tom cat wears parallel scars down his face on that account. I'v seen it happen. It's their own fault. Only very stupid animals would mess with someone with eyes like this, right? She always rests like this, with her paw in front of her, and the closer you get the more claws will emerge.Typical female.

  26. Adonisali says:

    She is a warrior. Like warrior princess Xena was and her companion Gabrielle in the tv series XWP. You know this series? I am a real fan of it. That story does relate a lot on the story of Alexander the Great and his companion, imho. Alexander s mother was Persian. So … you can understand why I make that connection.

  27. Aqualion says:

    Originally posted by Adonisali:

    You know this series?

    Yes, I do. My cat is actually named after that character. It was only afterwards I discovered that the name Xena actually is a genuine historical name. As far as I remember, Xena was a name of novelty in arcadia, more like 'lady' or 'princess' than just 'woman'. There's in fact some authentic history in that series, even though it's not exact.

  28. qlue says:

    What I know is that Xena is from the Greek for 'stranger' and the "warrior princess' was, according to that canon, exactly what she was! :pAccording to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, (6th edition)Crone n. Withered old woman; old eweThe etymology;ME, prob. f. MDu. c(a)rooje carcass f. ONF carogne carrion.Where as Krone (and the English word 'Crown') derive from the Latin corona which means 'halo' :p

  29. Aqualion says:

    Such nerds we are…

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