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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness

Category Archives: polaroids

They say you can never hear the snow fall.

But weird things do happen when you have survived the night wearing only a round-neck T and gym shorts; listening to the heater cranking up every now and then, keeping you warm from the  -20 cold outside.

Once in a while, peculiarities do occur. And most often one can easily be led into believing that it’s one of those sacred moments when one is able to connect with nature in a mystical way which others cannot. I call it post-traumatic psychosonicauditory stress. I was bloody certain that it was the skittering sound of snow on the rooftop which woke me up that morning.

Despite the conviction on my face, no one was impressed. There are many things you can claim to have heard; groans in the shower as your roommate steps on the icy cold mosaic floor or chattering teeth underneath the old comforter. But falling snow is another thing.

Then again, if our ears have fallen deaf to so much shit around us, hearing the snow fall is of course, scandalous. We were handed a 200,000 korean won discount by our agent for letting us into the crappy room.

It was a day many never saw so much snow in a long time. In fact, all around the globe, the snow created havoc that day. I almost missed my flight. Yet, it was suppose to come so silently.

I rested the pair of Fischers on my shoulders and headed for the slope. For days, the thin layer of my twin-tip alpines, which separated me from the bright mass of snow underneath, have become the only connection to my consciousness. My soles, and feet were the only decisive strength which held my life in balance – quite literally. The cold was immaterial. The crowd was non-existent.

At some point, I think something irreversible has been unleashed into the core of my being. The Czech poet spoke of the desire to fall. There is fun in colliding into groups of people and rolling over the blanket of newly fallen powdery snow – most first time skiers can tell you that. There in the vast whiteness of YongPyong, I swooshed down in the fullness of Vertigo – unashamedly basking in its glory.

Weeks later I mustered enough courage to bare it all out in the verocious northern-winter cold. I walked barefoot down to the frozen sea, where a hole in the ice was sawn, and took a dip, then ran back and jumped into the hot tub and drank cold beer. I sat in the tub which was placed outside the house, until ice formed on my head, covering my hair. I sank into the hot water and melt the ice then sat up until the ice formed again.



Walking along the pavement, I zig-zagged across a couple of quiet lanes, leading away from the otherwise buzzing market place to the cozy little wine bar along a block of boring bank outlets. Bankers were clocking off and locking up for the day. Each were setting off towards different directions. They looked up, only for a moment, gestured a quick goodbye and hurried off in their vehicles. Not unlike most evenings, the bar was already feeling jazzy as I made my entry. And like most evenings, I was greeted by familiar faces, mostly of regulars who stopped by to chill out before heading home.

It’s seven and I was winding down. With the stirrings of complex tannin of oak and berries, the sting of inebriety, I was detached from the laughters and intense conversations beleaguering me. It was an alluring moment, the swinging between soberness and drunkenness, which is enough to keep me from regretting my existence.

I twirled the glass and inhaled. Then I pictured Joe. I have never known anyone by that name. Joe, after an intense session of love making, is lying on his partner’s bed. He is visualizing each of his partner’s movement in the shower as he listened in to the sound of changing rhythm of water rushing down onto the bathroom floor after coming in contact with the body. He could feel the erectile strength returning to his penis. He savored his thoughts. From the outset, it was the secrecy of the relationship that was appealing to him, as if it was the only truth he could live by. Joe had met his partner months ago when he was having martini at the hotel lounge. It was then, when the prostitute approached him that he suddenly felt the strength to be weak.

Back in the room, Joe suddenly thinks of his wife, who is like him, also lying on a bed alone. He throws on his clothes, left some money on the bed and headed for the door. It’s almost 4 in the morning. But he knew very well that he will come back again.

Another bottle of boujalaise would be just fine. Then it’s time for me to go, though it’s still way before midnight. Looking over to a mirror across the table, I examined my face and I began to wonder how long more before I should start with some facial work to keep the lines from being visible to others. I looked beyond the reddened epidermis which wraps over the essence of me, a superficial representation of me, beneath which a soul rests. That surface which I have come to be recognized, that which is constantly rejuvenated and maintained at its best, for all to see. And I thought about how much my face reveals the real me? It’s a thought that is intoxicating in itself. It was this thought that has aroused a sense of suspicion in me, and this suspicion was what gave birth to the character of Joe.


It’s like one of those nights. I’d go for a beer after work and head home for my dinner, then go right off to sleep. You know, it could be one of those days when you probably are just feeling tired and you hope that all things will be okay when you wake up to a new day. Okay, old script. Oh, but I am not thinking of a mystical kind of grace that dawns in the morning sun which takes away the heaviness. Not like that. But perhaps a kind of unattainable grace, unforeseeable, beyond deconstruction. I called my friend and put off our appointment. What do you do when you feel that the world has continously walked out on you anyway?

Sometimes you want to tell the world that you intend to walk out on it. It feels good, for a while.

I stripped and stepped into the showers. The water was cold. A sensation I don’t really enjoy. But the change of temperature was helpful. I’ve ordered pizza and left it on the table. Outside, the TV was on, with the local news beaming.

I sat down on my couch. Gotham city is frantically seeking out a savior. The decadence of the city has reached its peak. Even law enforcers has become a B aN e to its people. The hero fell. Law and morality was indeed upheld by a lie. The white knight has re-emerged. But is this a knight the city needs or one which it deserves?

I don’t even remember how many times I dozed off on the couch. I got up. And found myself a new script. I need to help save Gotham City.