Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Italian Shade of Grey

“Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn't have the courage to say "yes" to life?”

― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

Busy, the theme of the period is completely and totally busy.
And for some reason, when people meet me they see me as a priest and proceed to confess.
I went to a shop last week to buy a pack of gum.
I smiled at the guy behind the counter: balding, 65 years old, yellow teeth.
He looks at me and says, "It's a really bad period."
I asked, "Why?"
He said, "Yesterday morning my woman of ten years left me."
I said, "Oh, I'm really sorry."
He said, "Then, my friend of five years left me in the afternoon."
I hesitated, uncertain, and asked, "So, you had two women?"
He replied, "Yes."
I looked at him and said, "Poor man."

“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.”

― Paulo Coelho

Then, I was coming back from Parma on the train two days ago.
I tend to meet interesting people on the train.
I was reading the new Paulo Coelho book, "Aleph".
The man across the aisle said, "Excuse me, Miss. Who recommended that book to you? It's for intelligent people, not young ladies."
I looked at him, kind of shocked, yet curious at the same time. He was about 76 years old, bald, wearing a non-matching sweatsuit, yellow teeth.
Ok. I'll admit it. Curiosity got the best of me- if he thinks it takes an intelligent person to read a Paulo Coelho book, then he must be intelligent and he must have a story to tell.
And when you read a Paulo Coelho book, it's all about the journey and who you meet on that journey.
I got up, crossed the aisle, sat down across from him and said, "Okay, tell me your life story."

So, he did.
He spoke for one hour and 40 minutes about his life, his father who was a CEO of Exxon, the tire company he created himself in Genova, his two kids- one of whom is some important financial person in Italy, his three airplanes, his three wives- the first one who left him for an American sculptor is 65 years old and on her 65th boyfriend - and all of his mistresses throughout the years because he was never a saint. At one point he looked at me, told me his second wife- the neuro-physicist once asked him to go to the wine cellar to fetch a bottle of wine for dinner; he didn't like being ordered around, so he left her.

As the train reached his destination, he looked at me with a sparkle in his 76 year old eye and asked me, "So, do you think we can meet again? One thing could lead to another and you never know..."

I wished him luck and told him he was too young for me:-)

Give me strength.

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”

― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die


Anonymous said...

what a classy response. :)


Unknown said...