Wednesday, November 01, 2006

my interaction with kafka

this evening at the homeless dinner, i met a guy, john. our conversation started abruptly. he loudly spoke across the table, "have you read kafka?" and i replied that i had, pointing him to the interesting tale of a hunger artist. he then proceeded to tell me about slamming his fist down on the counter at the main library today and bellowing, "do you have kafka?" he was very proud of this encounter, thought it to be quite funny.

john, aka guru, passed over his kafka book and had me read "the confidence tricksters" saying it had provided clarity, why hadn't he read it earlier in life? he described it as a "miniphany" a mini epiphany where something that has not been seen before has order and understanding. as he tore the jewels of pomegranate seeds from the pith of the fruit, we discussed the origin of the word "pom" (apple) "granate" (underneath) and how persephone had eaten pomegranates while in hades... not your everyday wednesday night conversation.

i then off the cuff asked his opinion on how to amicably dissolve a friendship which ensued into an interesting conversation. paul wandered over and mentioned "second helping" bible study would be starting in a few minutes. and guru started talking about growing up baptist but then tapping into his father's religious roots of judaica.

we then re-entered the friendship conversation, seguing into a discussion of the sect of judaism he was in. though he seemed quite intuitive and we had enjoyed good banter and conversation for a while, it took a bizarre and unexpected turn when i mentioned several jewish authors i have enjoyed over the years, namely chaim potok and yehuda amichai. a shadow fell over his face as he said, "it seems like you're name dropping instead of wanting to connect."

puzzled, i decided to concede since i didn't know where he was going with this. he rebutted by saying "i'm done." and that was it. his face, his posture had become closed. backing away from the table, i almost knocked right into the white column behind my chair. the experience was jarring. here i had been bringing up points of interest i thought we would share, which he perceived as evasive.

connect, disconnect.


Blogger Herr Richter said...

Wow. What an amazing encounter! I wonder if he really thought that you were dropping names to impress him or hide yourself, or if what he said about studying Judaica wasn't true and he was afraid he would get busted for it? Or did he take you for a confidence trickster? Its not often you meet someone like this..

2:39 PM  

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