Thursday, 21 December 2017
twenty-seven word story about a philosophy undergraduate's rubbish shift at pizza express (with four hundred and sixty-eight words of notes)
Philosophy student, waiting tables. “I’m observing – admiring – myself as a waiter. Bad faith, Sartre says. Merde, admiring my bad faith now. That’s terrible.” Loses concentration; spills drinks.
Other Italian restaurant chains are available but none are such good value with coupons – and one can’t help feeling that, while Pizza Hut’s a bit common, Pizza Express is rather posh. No Pizza Hut’s also a jazz venue; that tells you something. Coupon-wise, I always check Martin’s Money Savers before all journeys to the leisure multiplex, having learned of this useful website during my Diploma in Gestalt Counselling, when my own counsellor recommended it to me; she stepped slightly but harmlessly out of role to do so. All in, I guess I must've recouped the money laid out on my own therapy during the course, not least through the Bank Charges Reclaim of 2005, that was definitely a moment.
I have to be authentic with you about this (that’s what it’s all about, you see?): despite having once met him in a dream, I’ve not actually read any Sartre myself ('yet': the all-important growth-mindset modifier). Okay, I’ve started Being and Nothingness and the Roads to Freedom sequence two or three times, but I’ve never got beyond about page twenty of either. Some other time, perhaps. I read Camus as a teenager – heck, who didn’t? – and Irvin Yalom’s Existential Psychotherapy twice, more recently: it’s a tour de force, I’d press it into your hands but I’d have to find it in one of the book boxes in the garage first.
Met Sartre in a dream? Yes, during a camping holiday at Three Cliffs Bay near Swansea, I read Sarah Bakewell’s At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being and Apricot Cocktails. It gives vivid biographical sketches of Sartre, de Beauvoir and their circle, plus forerunners and influencers such as Kierkegaard and Heidegger, working outwards from group biography into an accessible exploration of the philosophical terrain. A good read; I’d press it into your hands but I read it on Kindle so not sure how that’d work. It must have been the late 1970s in this dream, as Sartre was already an old man; journalists and hangers-on were present. We’d taken some colouring for our daughter to do and Sarah was slightly bored but I told her that it was an honour. With holidays, the best days out are enjoyable for everyone; as this can’t be achieved every single time – at Disneyland, maybe but not the Gower Peninsula, though I love it there - a spirit of compromise is also needed. Jean-Paul Sartre, yes, but also Rhossili, the Mumbles, the Emoji Movie and the Swansea LC which has the cool waterslides and a four-storey interactive play area. I feel like I should read Merleau-Ponty at some point too; he was apparently the most contentedly bourgeois of the Sartre/ de Beauvoir circle.