Thursday, 9 April 2015

...of samaritrophobia

Samaritrophobia, he read, is the suppression of an overactive conscience by the rest of the mind. 'You must all take instruction from me!' the conscience shrieks, in effect, to all the other mental processes. The other processes try it for a while, note that the conscience is unappeased, that it continues to shriek, and they note, too, that the outside world has not been even microscopically improved by the unselfish acts the conscience has demanded.
They rebel at last. They pitch the tyrannous conscience down an oubliette, weld shut the manhole cover of that dark dungeon. They can hear the conscience no more. In the sweet silence, the mental processes look about for a new leader, and the leader most prompt to appear whenever the conscience is stilled, Enlightened Self-interest, does appear. Enlightened Self-interest gives them a flag, which they adore on sight. It is essentially the black and white Jolly Roger, with these words written beneath the skull and crossbones, 'The hell with you, Jack. I've got mine!'

[God Bless You, Mr Rosewater, Vonnegut, K.]

...of the forsaken

What was he going to do? Alice hadn't come! He didn't even ask himself whether she loved him or didn't love him. He had never asked himself that. The only question was whether or not she was his. He had shown her the 8, 000 francs.
It wasn't cynicism. It was humility. Now, she hadn't come, despite the Treasury bonds, and he didn't understand; he was out of his depth. Without knowing why; he found himself thinking of the girl in the red-and-blue-striped sweater, who had looked at him with such distrust, then with a kind of anger. Why?
He waited for a Villjuif tram. He could still see his two followers. He was sad again, no longer impatient, but sad - a hot, private sadness, like tears. It was the hour when, during his days on Rue Saint-Antoine, he would have already been putting clothes out on hangers and accosting passers-by. In prison, where everyone rises early, it was the hour of walking in the yard, single file, in silence, ears straining to hear the rumblings of the waking city on the other side of the walls.

[Mr Hire's Engagement, Simenon, G.]

...of apology

Mr Hire passed by without giving her a glance. After he had gone a way, a pocket of silence formed behind him: the concierge hurried feverishly into the corridor.
Mr Hire continued walking. The cold intensified everything: whites grew whiter, greys lighter, blacks blacker. He bought his newspaper at the newsstand and forced his way into the human mass clogging the pavement around the market stalls.
He hardly said the word. It was inaudible, really, even to himself. But it was a habit, a movement of the lips that occurred whenever he passed between two women, bumped into someone, knocked against the side of a car.
The train was waiting. Mr Hire picked up his pace, stuck out his chest and with his briefcase at his side broke into a trot, as he always did for the final stretch.
He didn't look at individual people. He didn't single anyone out. He pushed forward, advancing into the human swarm and finding unexpected openings, whole unoccupied squares of pavement, where he could slip through more quickly.

[Mr Hire's Engagement, Simenon, G.]