Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter weekend

I have spent many days alone, the family scattered north and south - Lulu in Berlin, and the boys in the boot heel of Italy visiting relatives. Even the dog spent the last week in the countryside with friends, since work kept me from walking her regularly. Lulu came back this evening, bearing souvenirs from Die Brücke museum and asking for sushi takeout. She brought me this notecard of a painting by Walter Gramatté, who died of at the age of 32 of tuberculosis.

I had a friend over last night who told me of her travails with online dating, and how the most promising of her beaus gave her a book that dealt a fatal blow to a budding relationship. He was otherwise a promising guy, but about three dates in her gave her a “relationship guidebook” for her birthday, which she was unable even to unwrap completely, so horrifying was the title. He knew she liked to read, and meant it as a nod to that, but fell very far off the map and was dismissed from the stage. 

My husband and I have many differences, being from different continents, religions and temperaments, but I cannot fault his taste in books. He did buy me a terrible book once, in ignorance, but later read it himself and admitted it was terrible. He also prefers David Copperfield to Great Expectations. Well, in moments of weakness even I prefer David Copperfield to Great Expectations.

Elsewhere, I've lived in Germany for 20 years and never knew it was forbidden to dance on Good Friday! It's interesting how atheist Europe sticks to these fossilized rules, like all retail stores being closed on Sundays, while the fundamentalist Christians in America stop at Sam's Club or whatever after church to pick up some booze. 


Jim Murdoch said...

My wife and I are also very different. We’re not only from different countries and were brought up in different religions we’re also from different generations; Carrie is twelve years older than I am and that does make a difference. I’m good at buying her books and I’ve bought her a lot over the years. She, on the other hand, is dreadful at buying them for me and gave up quite soon after we got married when she realised she couldn’t get it right. I’ve not read David Copperfield or Great Expectations but she probably has. She was a voracious reader as child. I wasn’t. If I were offered them to read I can tell you here and now I’d lump for Great Expectations because it’s half the length of the other but it’s still twice as long as most books I prefer to read.

Carrie and I met online. That’s about sixteen years ago now. It was unusual back then but now I guess it’s more of a norm. My daughter met her husband online too and they’ve been together for about nine years. She was looking. Carrie and I weren’t. In fact I was actively avoiding women in the UK. I thought corresponding with one on the other side of the Atlantic was safe. What did I know?

SarahJane said...

I think online dating is a great expediter, though I've never done it myself (having married before such a thing was possible). Also this friend of mine who's doing it says it is very helpful.
When Christmas comes around my husband and I usually ask each other which books the other wants. Saves on mistakes.

Kathleen said...

This has sent me to the lyrics of "Lord of the Dance," which is set to the lovely Shaker tune that has lyrics beginning "'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free..." ("Simple Gifts")

But back to verse 4 of "Lord of the Dance": "I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black; it's hard to dance with the devil on your back." Hmm. The speaker is Jesus, and he was dancing, metaphorically. (I think several poets and philosophers share this dancing metaphor..., speaking of books.)

You may recall that I introduced Ron to my friend Kim online...

Anonymous said...

Considering the number of demonstrators against
same sex marriage in both France and England
recently, I wouldn't quite call Europe atheist yet,
despite the picture the media likes to paint. Just sayin'.


Billy Joe said...

I'm prejudiced, as David Copperfield was one of my first great adventures in literature as a child.

Christians are not prohibited from drinking alcohol. Buddhists are teetotalers, if you look at basic Buddhist beliefs. I'm a Baha'i and we don't drink alcohol, but we love to sing and dance any time of day.

SarahJane said...

Germany has its Christians, too, including those who think it's bad to dance on Good Friday. But eastern Germany has been called the least religious place in the world, with 60%-70% of the people there identifying as atheists, compared with under 10% in the US.

Another interesting thing, this time regarding Italy, is how marriage - straight or otherwise- itself is on the decline, despite Catholicism. So there's a social trend against the institution there to begin with.

I have no problem with gay marriage. I think it's unfair that people in a committed relationship are unable to have the benefits that traditional marrieds do, regarding inheritance, insurance, or being able to share frequent flier miles.

Peter said...

Funny how David Copperfield vs. Great Expectations is this shibboleth. My wife and I have discussed the two as well. I found the first sappy, and I love the second. Maybe I can get through Dickens best with a plot.

SarahJane said...

I love them both, but would put Great Expectations out ahead. I don't think a difference in preference is grounds for divorce, but of course if one is still at the dating-website stage, one might indicate that GE lovers will be given an advantage.

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