Gay Bilson in Plenty: Digressions on Food recalling the closing of a restaurant after 18 years of operating it. Her reaction to a “gesture”
The timing was perfect and we were taken by surprise, but I was faking it. Oh, the tears were there all right, but it was more that the moment seemed to ask for them. Milan Kundera has suggested that watching oneself cry, as I was, might be a definition of kitsch. In Immortality he writes, ‘As soon as we want to feel, feeling is no longer feeling but an imitation of feeling . . . This is not to say that a person who imitates feeling does not feel.’
It is worth pausing to consider the vector. An act of will leads to imitation. As well, worth pondering the agency of the willing and the sensing. The what is what changes. The person feels. The person wills. The person remains. The actions are unchanged. That which is held between the person and the action is mutable.
The recalled scene and its mise-en-scene sets the stage for some comparative musings about menu planning and the order of courses — contrasting a Euro-influenced dinner with an Asian feast: one ending with sweets; the other, broth. One with a main course, the other with all laid out at once.
Am I not me using chopsticks? With a fork in hand I think differently, I suppose. Eating with our fingers gives relish to our words.
And so for day 98