Consumption and religion. If you buy a cup of coffee or a Patéis de Lisboa, you just put your coins on the counter without any other emotion than the great taste of this combination. It’s my reason (in fact, one of my reasons) to be here in Lisbon and write in the February sun. But if you buy bigger things you know you can’t afford to buy just as you please, if you realize the money you buy that thing with is finite, you think it over, you ask questions about the quality of the product. You wait until they convince you to buy it. Until you really believe in it. The act of paying is like a little prayer. Yes, there you tied yourself to your finite being again, you bought some specific product and not another one. That product is charged with meaning now. It is almost electrified with meaning. The money, the abstract Number has become product. You have taken a step in life, you climbed the stairs. The product has delivered you. when I bought my camera, this feeling did not really arouse me. There where but a few remnants of it that still made me euphoric and I wrote more pages than I normally do. So with that new camera I promise I will take pictures and exhibit them here.
Because I must take that travel thing seriously. I don’t want to consume, living off what I have piled up in the past years, burning away my earnings, not earning anything new. Must not all newness be deflowered by the price tag society puts on it? I need labels. It doesn’t matter how good or bad the narrative is, how good you reader find the metaphores, or the anecdotes. It only matters that it has a label, a price tag. Eleven ninetynine, that’s the highest bid till date. Anybody offers any more? I felt I had to write to earn my camera back. At least to provide some justification of my being entitled to it. Because at birth we were entitled to nothing, and we are not entitled to anything we didn’t explicitly suffer for, as the Calvinist mantra goes. At the same time, the clurgy is entitled to everything. But let’s say I’m not entitled to it. So what?
That night in the hostel I was offered the very last bed they had available. It’s always like this. It’s doesn’t frighten me, all the luck. It gets boring, I get used to it. I shrug my shoulders, take it for granted. I can squeeze little meaning out of it, and I know one day it will dry out. All the luck in the world, all the most improbable coincidences combined, the angelic gestures of all the selfless beings that by coincidence unheard of cross my path will then not be able to produce meaning. At the end of a lived life there awaits us only dullness, only shades of grey that leave us unmoved, detached from the sweating cycle of life itself. It will dry out at the end of our days. But it is juicy still, o yes don’t you worry. So a woman with wonderful curls in her black hair enters the hostel room and asks me for a pen. Yes I say you’re lucky you asked a writer and I pull out a pen while I say that, handing it to her. A writer she asks interested, how nice! O yes, and I travel in order to gather some inspiration. How nice! by the way, my name is Verity. Like truth? Yes, like truth.