Monday, February 18, 2013

Ways to feel

A technicolor sunset brings a feeling of baffled insecurity. There’s always a shade of atomic orange, tinged with pink or violet and glossy splashes of black. People make posters of this phenomenon, adding inspirational messages. Maybe I’d have appreciated such sunsets in another age? It’s not that they’re not beautiful - it’s just they require so much emotional coping. 

Fremdschämen. Yet another German word you need 8+ words to explain. It describes the feeling of being ashamed for someone else, especially if they themselves are not. It should precede any ingestion of the secret pill that transforms you into a dog, sparing you from belonging to the human race. Silvio Berlusconi is a major producer of this feeling. You can also experience it watching the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Dogs supposedly activate hormones that soothe people and cheer them up. I believe this as long as the person is near suicide or otherwise vulnerable to the charm. However, if it is 9 pm and freezing and time to walk the dog, the hormone trick proves ineffective. 

Rain manages the most intimate. It finds you, it sinks into you, it gets to know your crevices. Like any erotic attention, sometimes it’s welcome, and sometimes you wish it would lay off. 

When I cannot finish a poem despite months even years of trying it makes me feel like I have folded 32,258 origami swans very badly and what should I do should I go out and burn them? 

Wind makes me feel alone, in a good way.


Kathleen said...

I'm glad to know there is a word for that feeling. I understand the origami feeling, too.

kenc said...

Ah, the downside of dogs. They need walking. If only another "dog walker" lived in the house. And cook. I'd like to enjoy the dog without the walking and the food without the cooking for once. But alas, I've drawn both straws, seems.

True enough about rain, though I like it outside when I need to read or write inside. And wind IS very personal, running its fingers through your hair, calling you "Sport" and all....

Joseph Harker said...

I have to thank you for posting the info about Fremdschämen; I've been looking for the word for that feeling forever. (And I always describe it in relation to Schadenfreude, so it stands to reason German has one for this counterpoint.) Vielen Dank!

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