‘We pursue the things which retreat before us’, The Tao of Steve
So you ask me how I am. The question seems redundant, because you’ve just told me you read my blog. Perhaps I need to repeat that what I throw on that blog is real and not fiction. Zuzi calls it necessary vomitting. Perhaps that would have been a better and more authentic title than project authenticity. Am considering how to name this letter to you.
As good as it gets?
I will come up with something else.
It’s almost one 1 am and it will be 2.30 am by the time I will have finished it. Zuzi is sleeping. She fell asleep watching Friends. She loves Friends and never grows tired of watching it. You gotta admire how they made that show. Especially David Schwimmer’s (Ross) acting got better and better as they evolved. You will agree that I should spend my time writing something like that, something funny, some funny play maybe, or some serious non-fiction, instead of this letter to you.
But then I thought: what would I do if this was my last night on earth? And I would sit down to write you this letter.
And you did emphatically ask me to tell you how I am.
Today was Saturday.
Zuzi wakes up and reads yesterday’s blog post. Saying she really likes it, because it’s honest.
‘Isn’t it too much? Isn’t it embarassing to throw this stuff online?’
‘No’, she says, ‘it’s how it is. It’s good.’
I get a message from a friend in India. He congratulates me on the latest blog post. And then I almost smash my head against the wall, because he thinks it’s fiction.
IT IS NOT FICTION.
This is exactly what goes on in my life.
Zuzi says: ‘It’s because you bring it like it’s a story, I don’t think people know that so much can go on in a 50 minute therapy session.’
Zuzi and I go to the Post Office. Again it’s striking that Slovakians are one of the most impatient peoples to ever have lived, eaten and fucked on this earth.
Zuzi blames it on communism. I say: ‘I’m not so sure the Habsburg empire that went before it has absolutely nothing to do with it’
She wants to check out a coffee place she’s spotted in our neighbourhood. I say I still have to take her to an other place even closer to our apartment, an ideal place to take girls on dates to.
Though it’s more a of a literary gimmick to take them to a nearby restaurant called ‘bokovka’, which means something like ‘girlfriend on the side’ or ‘mistress’. When I want to make a real effort I take them to café Kut, which means corner in Slovak, but means ‘cunt’ in Dutch, the Dutch equivalent sounds a lot less offensive though. If it would be a non-smoking cafe and if they would turn up the heating in winter, it would be the best place in Bratislava to lose yourself in a woman and vice versa.
Don’t show this letter to anyone, because you know how quick people are to dismiss something as outrageous. They will judge you for merely being on the receiving end of this letter and am not even going into details. I think it’s because people don’t want to be reminded of the desires they so constantly murder inside themselves. Why else would we ever be outraged by other people’s actions that do not in the least bit concern our own affairs?
I’m halfway through this letter and I’ve already made Zuzi cringe three to four times. Again not nice of me, because we’ve had a pretty good day today.
We had deviant fornication to the album ‘Sixteen stone’, by Bush.
When the clouds of ‘la petite morte’ haze were lifting, I asked her if what we do isn’t sick.
And she says: ‘All sexual fantasies are sick.’
She’s amazing, isn’t she?
Her favorite Bush song is ‘Come down’, so after going down on her, we came down from our cloud and she started working. She’s created a beautiful Facebook-page for a book we’ve made. I know you are not much of a Facebook user, but take a look at it, just because it’s Zuzi’s work.
I gave my therapist one of her Kafka postcards as well.
What few people do not want to change in their cultural blueprint is the idea that you cannot possibly love her if you are open to intimacy with other women. Well, get out of my life if you’re that respectable. ‘Get out of my life, you’re so respectable’, is a song by the Rolling Stones and a wise man once told it was their attempt at sounding like a punk band. I don’t know why I’m adding that.
So how am I doing?, you keep asking.
‘Sometimes you can look so unbelievably unhappy’, says a fiery Slovenka with good legs.
‘Today you look totally zniceny’, says a student after class. Zniceny meaning ‘destroyed’.
Zuzi says: ‘if you are happy you betray the entire mentality you were raised in. The people you grew up with celebrated death, decay, destruction, insanity, they were only happy if they could claim that the whole world was crumbling around them. Like Nero and his harp overlooking a burning Rome.‘
By the way, you know about Hitler’s Nerobefehl, right? It’s fucking sick, but it gives me goose bumps.
Zuzi continues: ‘But there’s a different side to you, a warm, generous side, who loves life and people, and it’s that side of you that feels so incredibly bad, because the other side tries to stamp it out.’
There are two wolfs inside of you too. A good one and an evil one. And they are locked in mortal combat. Which one wins? Well, the one you feed.
When I feed my evil wolf I pay respect to my father, my family on my father’s side, and the people I grew up with. Lots of good-natured people who for some reason could only function if they could pretend the world was a very sick, dark comedy. Fun. But the fun stops when something creeps up in you, from where I don’t know, that actually wants to leave the world a little bit better than you found it. It would be easier to take a step back and look at the world and humans like George Carlin did. Like some silly prank by an amateurish God. A nothingness, a pest that would eventually destroy itself, leaving the earth to regenerate.
So how am I?
You said you wanted a detailed answer.
On Friday I stuck around in my classroom and left the door open. I could have gone home, because on Fridays I only teach three lessons, till 10h30. When I leave the door open, students come and see me.
That’s the best part of my job and it was one of the best moments this week.
Two came to check if I didn’t relapse and wasn’t drinking coffee. They saw me drink from a milk carton and I used to mix half a carton of milk with lots of coffee.
An other one comes to talk about how bored he is.
When I read in ‘Manhood’ that fathers spend only 8 minutes playing with their kids, I know why guys are so starved for communication with older men.
In that school I teach most teachers are female and most students are male. That’s not the best situation. At least half of the teaching staff should be male.
But there’s no money in teaching around here. Or as I’ve come to understand, the paycheck as a teacher is fine if you’re a woman, but it won’t do if you’re a man. I have been told that Slovakia arranges it this way: the woman takes care of your every need as long as you go out and bring in the big bucks. It’s an arrangement that still works around here. And one of the upsides is that women are still bending over backwards to take of how they look, because they still think they need to attract a husband who makes more money than them if they want to have any materially sound basis for a life. In the west women can hack it on their own and invest less time and energy into looking good to attract men.
Zuzi doesn’t think that way, I don’t know how it’s possible, but she’s an exception. You could say that she was raised that way, but her sister is different, she does think about money when it comes to her relationship.
Her sister is more prone to rigid thinking. She did much better in highschool than Zuzi. Perhaps that goes hand in hand. Rigid thinking, excellent highschool report card.
Ok, ok, you want to know how I am doing.
According to Zuzi am painfully hatching out of the egg. Or going through the painful process of going from caterpillar to butterfly.
Right, you don’t want to know how Zuzi thinks I’m doing, you want to hear it from me, straight up.
Well, I’ve discovered how important it is to me to try and give as much of self-confidence boosts as I can to the teenagers I teach English to, in the limited time I get to spend with them. And the intensity of this drive has caught me by surprise. I must confess that I prefer to teach them psychology/history and tend to entertain them in English, more than I teach them how to fill in grammar exercises, though we do that as well in the strictest minimal amount.
Not all of them appreciate this, I feel most do, but there are some who simply won’t appreciate anything and will always complain without offering an alternative. Those are the most obnoxious kind of people. People who don’t do anything, but criticize those who do, without ever coming up with a viable alternative. The wonderful thing about them is that their attitude reminds you of how you so NOT wish to be like that, and passively sit around, truying to skulk and shirk and feel smug about not doing anything.
All in all, if you wish to find the meaning of life, go and teach teenagers. The meaning of life is that we are all one, that we are here to give freely to others and that if we don’t or if we take from others without permission the universe will have that blow up in our faces. (*) If that sounds too spiritual to you, then fine. I know anything resembling spirituality feels ‘icky’ to lots of folks.
Today Zuzi and I are standing next to the register in a Liddle store. I see all the stuff we have amassed and I turn to her with a sudden shocking realisation and say:
‘We are so married.’
‘Don’t worry’ she says, we are walking through a supermarket discussing an article on Ivanka Trump by Anne Applebaum in DennikN.’
Liddle sells all Slovak newspapers by the way, except Hospodarske noviny (for people who think they can make money by reading a newspaper featuring more economic topics) and DennikN (for a narcisstisic intellectual snob like me and a genuinely interested artist like Zuzi).
Please answer the fucking question, you say.
How am I?
- I am shocked by how little we care about other people’s feelings and how very seldom we take someone else’s daily life’s conditions into consideration
- I am shocked that we don’t do anything about a situation such as the one in Syria. What we should do, I don’t know, but something, if only opening our windows, sticking out our heads and yelling ‘I am not going to take this anymore,’ like in the movie ‘Network.’
- I stare at myself in amazement when my biggest problem in life is centered around women. Is that really all there is to me? Being blown away by a certain type of women and wanting to lick her to orgams till she thinks she can’t anymore? Is there nothing else? Often it seems so.
- Vociferously protesting the prospect of me going to sit all by my lonesome with a smartphone in hand, a pram and a newborn baby next to, at a table to order a drink and sit staring at my smartphone and thinking that somehow this is good parenting. It was one of the more depressing sights today. An other one was two guys drinking beer at 11 am. Maybe that’s why I wanted to title this letter ‘culturally castrated’. I got Zuzi confused, she started thinking I wanted nothing to do babies, but it’s prams I don’t want anything to do with. I don’t want to put them in a box on wheels and fool myself that driving them around the park and not even talking or not even looking at them is somehow doing them any good….
- kind of smiling when I think about how much Zuzi needed to laugh today when she heard about the word ‘muff diver’
- I regret very much that I can’t sing, because you have a lot more impact on people if you can go on a stage and sing your guts out, than if you take a pen and write your guts out
- I think I would be happier if I could seduce two to three women a week, but with what kind of life-style can you combine that? Unless you’re rich, you need an income, and a full time day job doesn’t combine well with full time womanising, so I would have to become so good at it that I can teach it to other people for money OR come up with some other source of income that gives me plenty of time and a less worried head to hunt. But where in the hell would it lead to? I clearly value other things, because theoretically I could decide to do it, not teach, not care about therapy, stop writing immediately, because it’s way to time consuming, at 2h30 am on a Saturday night I would have to be hunting, not writing, I would have to leave Zuzi (two to three women a week would be too much to ask…) I would also have to throw out my current wardrobe and buy lots of far better clothes, etc.
- I’ve promised myself never to fall in love again, I can’t think of any way to make a more complete fool of yourself
- I’ve sworn never to give my power away to any woman ever again, I feel humiliatingly cheap on the -luckily- very rare occasions it happens
- I’m not talking about Zuzi, I don’t feel like I have given my power away and that is one of the reasons why she is with me
- I’m trying to figure out why we chase the things and the people that move away from us and what that says about human beings
- not so much horny, but addicted to sudden full-blown intimacy with women I have just met
- presently too dissatisfied with myself to stand a chance establishing that full-blown intimacy with any women I have just met, so lately I don’t even try
- I’m worried about money, administrative stuff that I keep forgetting about, female hormones in our water supply, omnipresent sugar, American politics, people who want to be better than others, fluoride in tea leaves, my mum whom we’ve practically abandoned when we moved to Slovakia, but not enough to give her more attention
- you can be an asshole in some of areas of your life and you can be a saint in other areas of your life
- overly worried about passing on traumas to my children now that Zuzi is hell-bent on having children as of next year
- still obsesed by the American Civil War, but not so obsessed that I would first write about the American Civil War and then write you this letter
- very concerned about the most effective way of teaching only mildly -at best- motivated students a language without bullying them, but enough to be preparing classes right now instead of writing you this letter
- asking myself if there’s truth to the drill sergeant’s line in Full Metal Jacket: ‘The more you will hate me, the more you will learn’
- clearly I’m very motivated to write you a very open honest letter
- letting the fact sink in that Zuzi assumes I’ve killed myself each time I don’t respond to her smsses for a couple of hours
- asking myself why I devote most of my writing focus on a blog that got 25,000 views in 6 years, when something simple I threw on an other site two weeks ago already has 46,000 views.. What kind of dumb-ass writing strategy is this?
- more and more puzzled as to why most people are so scared to say out loud what’s really going on inside them
- I regularly get hit by the most unbearable longing to talk all night with a stranger and not parting till we’ve fucked like hyperactive bunnies, tearing at each other, clawing at each other and exhausting ourselves more than navy seal recruits in training. Don’t you people ever have similar desires? I know some of you have. Why must we go through life pretending as though we are dead already? There will be plenty of time to be dead later
- always listing stuff to write about, but mostly ending up trying to cut out my liver and serving it to you on a plate by way of a blog post
- discovering that it’s even harder than in Belgium to have a genuine heart to heart conversation with people in Slovakia. There must be lots of people here who have been so lonely for so long that they don’t even know that they are lonely. The barriers people throw up around here can compete with the most massive of castle walls
- I am -almost- directionless
- Isolated and cut off from stimulating face to face conversations
- Disconnected (I have more than 3,000 friends, seven or eight of which I actually communicate with, some I’ve even seen face to face in 2017!)
- Curious about what’s happening in Venezuela, but not enough to read about it instead of writing this
- worried sick about how we could get to a moral economy, preferably along the lines of a resource based economy as proposed by Peter Joseph, but not worried sick enough to actually do something about it
- I am very passive I have to conclude from re-reading this letter to you
- amazed that Zuzi is an actual person, truly exists and thinking that I must be doing SOMETHING right if a woman like that stubbornly and cheerfully wants to make you happy
- mildy aggressive towards prude people
- mildly aggressive towards people who only talk about beer
- mildy annoyed with people who comment on stuff I write without reading what I write
- mildly aggressive towards people who claim that if you truly love someone you will not encourage that person to explore his/her sexuality with other people if that person you claim to love is in need of that
- medium aggressive towards people who don’t want to do anything except smoke and complain
- annoyed that not more people see that we often confuse ‘love’ with the possessiveness a small child displays towards his/her little toy. We find it silly in a child, but we find it a virtue if we claim sexual ownership of a person we declare to love.
- never very aggressive.
- embarrassed that I spend so much time answering the question ‘how are you?’
- considering to stamp out emotions for a while so I can get more work done, but being a therapist myself, knowing that this is a self-defeating tactic in the long run
- about to drop next to Zuzi and fall asleep
- hoping I have done enough ‘necessary vomitting’, so I can focus on writing something that people might actually find some value in
- I do feel some relief after writing you this letter, so thanks for reading it
How are you? How are you really?
And am not just asking because you asked me first.
(*) Shortly after publishing this a friend wrote me: ‘This is exactly how I felt when I took LSD. I’m sorry, but this is the first time ever that I read one of your blog posts.