Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

"No; listen, Jake. If I handled both our expenses, would you go to South America with me?"
"Why me?"
"You can talk Spanish. And it would be more fun with two of us."
"No," I said, "I like this town and I go to Spain in the summertime."
"All my life I've wanted to go on a trip like that," Cohn said. He sat down. "I'll be too old before I can ever do it."
"Don't be a fool," I said. "You can go anywhere you want. You've got plenty of money."
"I know. But I can't get started."
"Cheer up," I said. "All countries look just like the moving pictures."
But I felt sorry for him. He had it badly.
"I can't stand to think my life is going so fast and I'm not really living it."
"Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except the bull-fighters."


"Listen, Jake," he leaned forward on the bar. "Don't you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you're not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you've lived nearly half the time you have to live already?"
"Yes, every once in a while."
"Do you know that in about thirty-five years more we'll be dead?"
"What the hell, Robert," I said. "What the hell."
"I'm serious."
"It's one thing I don't worry about," I said.
"You ought to."
"I've had plenty to worry about one time or other. I'm through worrying."
"Well, I want to go to South America."
"Listen, Robert, going to another country doesn't make any difference. I've tried all that. You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There's nothing to that."
"But you've never been to South America."
"South America hell! If you went there the way you feel now it would be exactly the same. This is a good town. Why don't you start living your life in Paris?"
"I'm sick of Paris, and I'm sick of the Quarter."
"Stay away from the Quarter. Cruise around by yourself and see what happens to you."
"Nothing happens to me. I walked alone all one night and nothing happened except a bicycle cop stopped me and asked to see my papers."
"Wasn't the town nice at night?"
"I don't care for Paris."
So there you were. I was sorry for him, but it was not a thing you could do anything about, because right away you ran up against two stubbornnesses: South America could fix it and he did not like Paris. He got the first idea out of a book, and I suppose the second came out of a book too.