The taste of time

When I was a kid my mother told me that the sky was a piece of cloth hung up by God, to dry. Most of the water would wither in the sun, but some of the droplets would crawl all the way down to the edge of the cloth, and there, just like a lover who meets his love after a lifetime of waiting, undecided where to start, there, the droplet would split into a billion pieces, and kiss the earth everywhere at the same time. And it would rain … 

We are thrown out into the world like in a game which we have to play to discover the rules. First thing I discovered as a kid, was that I could decide what things were.  

I could decide that water tastes like milk, and apples taste like bananas. So imagine how surprised were my parents when they saw me lick my fingers after eating that ugly mesh of boiled vegetables I always hated. It was the day when I discovered I could decide that everything tastes like chocolate. Happily for my teeth, I got sick of the chocolate taste after just one week. And then, I had a potatoes phase, a tuna fish phase, and one whole year where everything tasted like tomatoes with cottage cheese. 

When I was in school, to make things easy, I decided that French and English are the same language, so I had to learn only one. I decided that Physics was the night dream of people who liked to wear white coats, and the only true science was that of the keys pressed on my keyboard, where I could decide what everything was. 

Many years passed but that’s a story for another time. Fast forward to January 2020. I was in front of Duomo di Milano, in an open plaza, with doves flying tourists under the sky blue, and rocks crawling up and down buildings competing to see their king, the high tower of the church. And I, I was in this beautiful game where I could decide anything, and I was sad. And I couldn’t understand why… 

My sadness grew strong. I felt like I was fading, disintegrating,

As if I’ve grown a million eyes,
To watch the present,
And live forever in the now.

I watch it all,
My day, my night,
A tireless big brother.

For every single thing,
That goes under the sun.
Must have some meaning,
For another.

I’m keeping now a record,
Of the facts.
That I myself forget,
For the next day,
It’s all anew.

The past,
Is obsolete.

I spent that whole afternoon, under Duomo di Milano, following the passers-by as they walked, and wishing them to be happy. But somehow, accepting that I wasn’t the only one who could decide things, that anyone could make the rules of the game, didn’t make me happier. The sadness was still there, deeper and thicker. And then, all of a sudden, I knew why I was sad …I had no idea what apples taste like. 

I mean, I have had apples my entire life. But every time I ate them they tasted like something else. I wanted to know what apples really taste like.

It was February 2020 when I called my mom, and asked her what do apples taste like ?  

On the phone, she reminded me that the sky was a piece of cloth hung up by God, to dry. Most of the water would wither in the sun, but some of the droplets would crawl all the way to the edge of the cloth, and there, just like a lover who meets his love after waiting a lifetime, undecided where to start, there, the droplet would split in a billion pieces and kiss the earth everywhere at the same time. The droplet never knew that the earth cheated on it so many times, and the earth would always forget. So every tree, and every apple was the fruit of a new love. And for some reason every time God hanged his cloth for drying, it was another one, the sky was never the same as the one before. At the end, my mother warned me, with the words of William Blake – “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.” 

With that thought in my mind, I thanked my mom and went to Albert Heijn and fit in as many apples as I could fit in one of those big bags. I really wanted to taste infinity. It was February 2020. 

I got home, closed my eyes, and bit into the first apple. It felt like it was the beginning of spring, the grass was hard, and the grass was not sure yet what color it will have. I looked around, and I found myself in this labyrinth, pressing hard against stone walls. My sweat smelled like mint. I pressed for hours until I reached the middle of the labyrinth, and there, in the middle of it, there was a little bird chirping. I let the bird live, and then, keeping my eyes closed, I picked up the second apple. 

It was like a castle red with stones. In every room, molecules were dancing a different dance. It took me a long time to find the big hall of the castle. In the center was the biggest disc of solid light I’ve ever seen, surrounded by 8 black holes, that contained everything that was, and everything that will be. I was getting closer and closer to them, drawn by their power and then … 

I opened my eyes. The phone was ringing. I had 652 missed calls. The year was 2021, a whole year has passed. Apparently, everyone has been locked in their houses for an entire year. No one could understand why I didn’t answer the phone. No one could understand how I spent my whole 2020 biting through two apples. 

I was afraid that if I dig into a third apple, I will miss so many precious years … There was only one way out … I had to decide once and for all what the taste of apples was. 

Out of the box – story of a song

I’m soo excited to share the first video in my storytelling podcast ! Spoiler alert – there are lots of surprises :D. Really happy with what came out, hope you like it !

Times being as they were, I had to think … literally out of a box 😅.

You may want to press the youtube button (watch on youtube) – to watch it in fullscreen.

Salsa for people who think too much

I write because it lets me predict the future. Yet for the first time, I had no clue where this story will bring me. Maybe it’s because, when I started, I was mature enough to understand that:

I’m Perfect!
I’m Smarter than you,
I’m Faster than you,
I’m Better in every single way,
And for all I have done
Let’s be honest,
I deserve more than you!

I was somewhere in this cheerful mood, when I went to my first salsa class. Now I have to confess something: I have never, ever danced before. Not even under the shower. After I took the first beginner class 3 times, the second beginner class 3 times, the third beginner class 3 times, moved to intermediate, and then came all the way back to beginners, I realized … there must be something wrong with the teaching method. So I decided to come up with my own. Salsa … for people who think too much.

Lesson 1 – the upside down umbrella

You dance in a circle, switching partners. By the end of the class, you’ve done the full tour twice and you get a pretty complete and consistent image of yourself:

You’re frowning, you’re angry, you’re thinking too much,
you’re counting, not counting, don’t do it as such,
so wait for the next one, next time, boy oh boy,
now?
Now you’re not good enough.

Let’s skip all the blaming and get things straight – Yes, I’m the guy, Yes, I’m supposed to lead, it’s all on me. Yes, I really, really wanna do things right. Yet here I am, stopping in the middle of a move because I forget where the freaking legs are supposed to be, stuttering back and forth a bunch of times until I think I got the rhythm right (and I look into her eyes – nope, I didn’t). Here I am – hating myself for every clumsy little move, and I put in my google calendar that the next time when I go, I won’t just talk about my mistakes, I’ll make people compliments, but I can’t. I guess that was my first salsa lesson – you cannot make compliments when you’re frustrated.

One evening, at a salsa party I saw a really strange thing. In the middle of the stage, a chair, and a little kid sitting on it. Two larger, heavier kids, were pushing him from the sides, trying to see if they can fit him in smaller space. I could read on his lips, he kept saying, if only I could disappear, if only I could disappear and these two assholes would bump into each other, if only, I could disappear… I ran off to help, but the children vanished.

I looked around, and on my right, there was a girl, who I asked to dance, and for 2 minutes, I forgot all about my salsa mistakes. All I could think of was her hair. Whenever she turned around, her hair raised, weightless, like an upside down umbrella. I didn’t say anything. Back then, I feared that making compliments always has consequences. Instead, she looked at me and said, in the sweetest possible way: you think a lot, don’t you ? It might have been a compliment.

Lesson 2 – the alien

I land. I watch the dancers float on the stage and I am amazed. I make contact with the humans: unbelievable, we have the same five fingers. But what do I say? On my planet, the whole world lives inside my head, but here, your world is too big, and I cannot carry all its emotions. I am … a mirror. An emotional amplifier. You want me to be myself ? If I share the dramas that live inside me, they would crush you. So I break the loop. Instead of reflecting emotions, I will transform them. I become a drunken clown, that turns fears into jokes. A colorblind poet, that paints the world with words.

That night, I left early, exhausted from too much thinking. When I reached the entrance, I saw a man, sitting down, his legs crossed. He was flipping one coin over, and over again, never happy with the outcome. After he flipped the coin a thousand times, I found my courage, and went back to the dancing floor.

Lesson 3 – What did you wanna become as a grown up?

When I was a kid, I really wanted become an extrovert. I remember going to parties, where I wouldn’t talk much, but I would always say good bye – to people I knew, to people I didn’t know. It was the easiest thing to do – I didn’t need to have a half-an-hour conversation after that goodbye (although that seems to happen all the time lately and I love it). Somehow, doing that has become a sort of tradition for me. Because for me, goodbye, is when people get to know me: I am … the child who didn’t disappear. I am the man who flipped the coin a thousand times, the coin that every single time showed, in reflection, my face, to realize that I am … you!

Epilogue

If to be broken,
Is to live in a world,
where only the satisfied are fed,
and you,
you’re so hungry,
that you learn to pretend.

If to be broken is to live life,
like it’s a Mario game,
never making it past the first level,
always falling down into that first pit,
because for some odd freaking reason,
in  those twenty something years of your life,
I had no idea,
that THERE’S A JUMP BUTTON!
that I can skip over pain,
jump over yesterday,
live like a child,
never right,
never wrong,
too small to make sense of any of this,
but still taking the jump,
the bold leap of faith,
and hoping
that one day
I will learn to fly.

Thinking that maybe, maybe the happiest moment of my life
Is right now,
And right now, I am split, spread out,
between the lines,
Between you,
Letting go,
With so many walls torn off,
With nothing to fear,
And nothing to defend,

If that…
if that…
if that is what it means to be broken,
Then broken is what I want to be!