‘I knew it wasn’t too important, but it made me sad anyway’ – The Catcher in the Rye (J.D Salinger)
In this one simple sentence there are two big acknowledgements; the first is the acceptation of sadness, the second is the realisation of what’s causing it and the decision that it is not important. The sadness remains in some ways unjustified, but
Holden Caulfield couldn’t care less. Because he doesn’t feel the need to receive permission to feel sad, he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone, he is sad and he’s going to say it to the world through his many filter-free dialogues.
it’s not a heavy sadness, it’s a general sense of melancholy. Like the one he felt while thinking about his little sister. She attends the same elementary school he went to when he was a child, that makes him think about those trips that he went
on every Saturday to the Natural Museum and that she too is experiencing. He remembers about all the fake men and women, behind those glasses, maybe Native Americans, maybe Inuit, preoccupied with ordinary matters such as fishing or hunting, sailing or weaving. Then on the floor above there were lots of birds, some of them stuffed and tied to the ceiling, others painted on the walls, all of them migrating south. Come a week later and the birds were still migrating south, and the seasons would eventually change and summer would arrive, but those birds would still be heading the same way and you could be sure of that; you knew, entering that museums, that nothing had changed from the last time you went there. Nothing but you. Through the glass that old woman weaving would not age a year, while your reflection would gradually change. At first it is just the expression, maybe one of those Saturdays you were sick or sad, the next you could have seen something nice like a rainbow while going there or someone could have been by your side in the reflection.
The thoughts and problems of your reflection each Saturday would be different but no-one would probably know, since you would deny it, even to yourself. The woman on the other side too busy weaving and the reflection of the next Saturday or the Saturday before both too preoccupied with their own thoughts that in very few hours would become meaningless. Maybe even completely different, opposed to one another. But what if you could catch each reflection and put them on the other side of the glasses, in the place of the woman weaving, have them in front of you, next to each other, every reflection,
in the same way that you have Native Americans and Inuit fishing and hunting. If you could walk through a Natural Museum and observe the history of yourself, of your many selves. Would it be interesting? Would it be annoying? Would you feel stupid for having thought certain things, would you fear the judgment of the reflection of the next Saturday or the
Saturday before? The sudden changes, the constant instability and fragility of your thoughts, evident in that display of yourmany selves in the end brings you to question the importance to give to each emotion and feeling and thought if in merely a week it can so drastically change. ‘I can’t explain what I mean. And even if I could, I’m not sure I’d feel like it’.
To read possibly while listening to ‘The Suburbs’ by Arcade Fire