Monday, April 11, 2005

An Individual In Confrontation With The World, Pt. 7

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In the elevator Sebastian met his neighbour called Otto, but the men did not exchange any words. Otto was a civil servant of lower cast, a middle-aged man with sparse light-brown moustache, being slightly obese and balding, and a bachelor at 46. Otto had little piggish eyes covered by rimmed glasses and he was slightly hunched, always wearing a shabby trenchcoat and carrying a worn-out attache case. Everything about Otto told he had seen better days; if there had been better days for him at all. Sebastian always wondered if he was gazing at his own future in Otto.

On the street dust devils whirled, got little fine-grained specks of sand in Sebastian's mouth and made his eyes irritated. Every fucking spring the same thing. During winter they were spreading gravel over icy pavements, so that old grannies would not trip and fall, but come spring, said gravel and sand would be flying all over in the air, making life hell especially for allergics and asthmatics. Gladly weather forecast promised some rains were on their way, but until then, everyone had to suffer under conditions somewhat reminiscing a Sahara sandstorm.

Sebastian had always hated spring, it always drove him crazy, made him either sad and melancholic or unexplainably restless. Probably something to do with hormonal imbalance after a long period of light deprivation, serotonin depletion in the brain, and little things like that, all scientically explainable. Nothing to do with the rabbit-like longing for the opposite sex, of course.

Spring was funny: it apparently made all lunatics and alcoholics to crawl out their holes. One day Sebastian saw a man who was waving to apparently no one, emitting strange animal-like sounds from his throat as if in agony, hitting his head angrily with his fist; obviously to silence the sounds and voices he would hear there? It was scary, everyone on the street seemed to avoid the man. There were also alcoholics earning some extra pennies by washing the display windows of small stores; Sebastian always saw a lot of them carrying their squeegees and buckets of water. Wonderful career opportunities for the post-welfare society, Sebastian thought.

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