The Flaneur: Saturday’s List of Things to Remember and Forget

Share on
The fifth in a series called “The Flaneur.”
We follow David as he bums around India: drifting from place to place, taking notes, confessing, soliciting trouble.
Forget what it’s like to have an air-conditioner and a refrigerator.
Forget the taste of meat and the way it made your belly all piquant and full.
Forget what it’s like to drive a car or to ascend in an elevator.
Forget Mickey Mouse and Donald Trump and movie theatres.
Forget the American supermarket’s block-long aisles of cereal and shampoo.
Forget what it’s like to reminisce with childhood friends.
Forget microwaves and ovens and sterilization wrap.
Forget television commercials and safety belts.
Forget police who cannot be bribed.
Forget the vacuumed-carpet smell of Midwestern churches.
Forget what it’s like to meet people who’ve heard of Oklahoma.
Forget the raki-fuelled delirium of your two years in Istanbul.
Forget lawn sprinklers and baseball caps and cultures that erect gyms.
Forget the empty trivial pride of feeling part of a nation.
Forget strip clubs filled with truculent drunks.
Forget the painted heavens of Christianity.
Forget the guilt of Golgotha and the logic of the gun show.
Let the concept of the nursing home reassume its rightful alienness.
Stop associating death with devastation.
Henceforth you’ll be boiling every glass of tap water – get used to it.
Forget what it’s like to purchase out-of season fruit.
Forget springed mattresses.
Forget bagels and hamburgers and seven-lane highways.
Forget people who lyposuck and swallow pills to kill their problems.
For the sake of life, forget your generation’s lust to keep au courant.
Forget skyscrapers and machine guns and cathedrals and Republicans and Democrats.
Forget the concrete-bordered sky of the 21st-century city.
Forget those who wallpaper their dreams with visions of money.
Forget the number of countries you’ve been to (it means so very little).
Forget the idea of countries in general.
Forget the illusion that sanity can be defined.
Your memories are beginning to seem like the dreams of strangers.
They are and they are not.
Everything changes.
Keep vigilant. Keep vigilant.
Remember the earth as wide and lawless.
Remember to live in a state of perpetual awe.
Remember that land and people are divided only in the mind.
Remember to spend afternoon after afternoon in bed with the woman you love, regardless of the consequences.
Remain on the edge of civilization and never cower from it.
Remember the freedom that comes from possessing little but shoes.
Remember the idea of time you knew before you were taught to count it – time churned in a woman’s womb and not on minute hands.
Remember what is gained by not carrying a watch.
Remember what it’s like to walk through storms and rivers and not give a damn.
Remember that material is not synonymous with philosophical sophistication.
Remember that you are a biodegradable sack of water.
Remember your childhood astonishment regarding insects.
Remember your thoughts were carved by a culture on the brink of self-destruction.
Remember that all power rests on a pillar of smoke.
Forego the obvious and see the skeleton of India’s own assumptions.
Remember your reality is projected.
Remember that no matter what you do, you’ll always be a stranger, even to yourself.
Remember that all of your problems are your own creations.
Remember the lepers of Varanasi when your cards feel badly dealt.
Remember that wealth is relative but health is not.
Never abandon your plan to sail around Africa.
Undergo a rebirth of wonder every day.
Share on