Sunday, May 25, 2008

Can't do it myself

I like seeing old people on bicycles, the wind going through grey hair, their knees going up and down, and somewhere inside underneath alongside them I fancy I see the scab-kneed boy, the girl in plaits, hurtling towards the future, decades ago.


But Why? said...


They are the hard core of the pensionable-age army.

Not for them concerns about brittle bones, no. These are the pensioners who as children ate their fish and drank their milk without arguing. I imagine the cycling is merely an extreme form of belated rebellion...

Zhoen said...

I love imagining older folks as young kids, that's a wonderful description.

Anna MR said...

Ha, But Mutta, judging by your activities at the moment, you'll be one of them in, oh, many decades' time, you sportsy young thing, you (don't think I didn't read in breathless horror the tale of your friend's 10K run) (you were heroic, as was she). I, on the other hand, am probably less fit than the average wrinkly brigader cyclist. Ah well.

But the odd thing is the people who are OAPs now spent their childhood in near-malnutrition, because of the war (the sale of foodstuffs was quite heavily controlled and regulated until the 1950s over here, the last thing to become freely available being coffee, that most essential substance for the building-up and maintenance of good health. Anyway). Obviously they are just bred tough, unlike my generation.

Anna MR said...

Hei Zhoen, it is fascinating, is it not? I also love old photographs, even if they are of people I don't know. One shameful time I was reduced to welling-up, if not actual tears, in a pub in Riga where they were showing a medley of the oldest bits of film in the history of cinema, and on came one with two babies (now long dead or, at the very least, ancient) sitting in high chairs, eating and squabbling over a toy or something.

I never seem to be able to do it the other way, though, looking at the children of now and imagining them old.

Glad you cared for the description. Lovely to see you here.

That's So Pants said...

Hi Anna

What a lovely thought. I am happy all day now.



Reading the Signs said...

Yes, and I suddenly had this profound thought that the beauty is also in the eye of the beholder. It is not an original thought but - if the cap fits, wear it. Yes, it fits you.

Anna MR said...

Hurrah. My weird thoughts making you happy for a day is making me happy for the rest of the day, now, too. Pantaloons, it's gorgeous to see you.


Anna MR said...

Signs of Profundity, that's pretty lovely, you know. I'll happily wear the cap of beholding beauty and am pleased to hear you think it fits me. And really, artistes of our calibre need not worry about originality - you know what they say about mediocrity versus greatness, borrowing and stealing, all that. Mwahs once again.

LottieP said...

Yes, this was a nice image - it reminded me of what someone said about inside every thin person there being a fat person signalling wildly to be let out.

I think this thought also chimes with your blog's title.

Interesting question about babies not having their future written on their bodies. Sometimes, some particularly wise babies look at you in a certain way... But unlike the old, the very young don't have a past to wear across their faces, do they?

Anna MR said...

I've heard that fat person waving frantically thing, too, Lottie (hei, lovely to see you). The truth is, though (or at least my truth), that when my fat person a few years back broke free, she was a miserable creature and I am happy to say I stuffed her back inside.

I'm pleased you noticed the chime thing because I noted it too, although only after I'd written and posted it. And yes, babies - newborn babies - often carry the look of ancient sages. I mean centuries old. As they become more embedded into this plane(t), the look disappears and they enyoungen into babies-toddlers-children. But initially, they are something else. (Newborns make me cry. It's dreadful and embarrassing and inevitable. Shhh. Never tell anyone, Lottie, please. I have a hard rep to keep up.)

Merkin said...

Sorry to change subject, but........

MisterAnna, maybe you will like this one about schmozzle and schlemiel.

Schlemanna said...

Hei Merkin, nice to see you, welcome back. No need to apologise, as you ought to know - the comment threads on this site may turn any which way and it's always alright. And you're right - that was interesting, thank you for bringing it here for my edification. I may just need to go and learn Yiddish on Youtube - it would be super cool and hip and cutting edge in a strange retro-vintage-European way.

I may, consequently, be gone some time...

Merkin said...

Hi pal, not been about due to circumstances.
Still pop in from time to time but have no enrgy to comment ie I will have to follow comments if I say something.
Having seen that one on NMJ I felt I must comment in the interests of linguistic purity.
No need for me to drop my linguistic trousers in your blog to show that I have some expertise in that language.
That is why I sent you a better definition.
I truly love the minutiae of idiom and its uses thereof.
And, I appreciate his attempt to paraphrase NMJ's paragraph. It was wrong, though. Simple.

I enjoyed your translation and felt it in English and Finnish.
Needless to say, my students will always 'go for the throat' with merkinlike patois.
Only survivors, so far.
A few sore faces, too, must be said.

Context is always important in translating.
Still, 'Tomorrow Will Be Better' is a common Polish (and Yiddish) phrase that suits one of Nazim's phrases that you translated.

The beauty of language.

nmj said...

Lordy, Merkin, I am dizzy, what you doing here, laddie, chez Anna MR?! I am lost, what the hell is goin on?! Please no dropping of trousers! No one translated anything wrongly, did they? Please enlighten me! All was exquisite as far as I am concerned.

(And please, please, Merk, spell me NASIM, not Z, never z.)

Nicola said...

(Me too, me too, Anna sister - newborns, I mean, all that translucency and vulnerability. I blame my lovely grandmother for taking me with her to a premature baby unit in the days when germs didn't matter. Ten years after that some fool new mother placed her baby in my arms and something inside me went all chaotic and melty. Hence, I had four and would have had more if exhaustion hadn't overtaken me.)

Nicola said...

ps in brackets 'cause of the shhh factor and not wanting to take away from the preceding comments which, though fascinating, I haven't the foggiest about (thanks nmj for going first there though I think you know more than I).

Merkin said...

NMJ, ffs, look at the time of my last posting to see why my flash of illumination may not have given birth to that Athene being fully clothed.
I will email you tomorrow to explain fully.
In the meantime, I know you are the Minelli of the blogs, but I always think of you as Naz.
Because 'nas' in Polish = 'nous' in French.

'It's Liza with a Z
Not Lisa with an S
'Cause Lisa with an S
Goes "sss" not "zzz"
It's Z instead of S
Li instead of Lee
It's simple as can be
See, Liza!'

Mr Anna's translation looked and sounded wonderfully perfect and i was very interested in her description of the comparatives in each language.

I can't wait for her to do the translation of my next book!!

Be cool, speak soon.

Anna MR said...

Oh good grief, people. Hello. Okay. Merkin, thank you for praising my translation, but do please keep your blogging (and other) kinds of trousers on - apart from a bit of swearing and the odd bit of innuendo here and there, this site is meant to be family-friendly. Oh yes. And although I cannot claim any merit whatsoever with regard to Yiddish, I must say I don't agree with your criticism of the one-word paragraph-translation (if I'm catching your drift right) - not only because the magnificent Signs cannot put a word wrong in my books, but also because according to the translation supplied by you, and my reading of the paragraph, and the artistic licence which said Signs has printed and framed on her wall (I know she does), if NMJ's (hello, honey) paragraph can be translated into a single word, any word, in any language, then surely that word is schlemozzle. I have spoken. (And hei, I am aware of you having had circumstances, and although the condolences I'm offering here are belated, they are nevertheless heartfelt. Sorry, pal, it's sad and horrible.)

(Nicola - yes regarding the newborns, it's just an inescapable emotional meltdown factor. They are so strange and perfect and it's all still ahead of them and they could still be anybody and I don't bloody know. Four is quite a lot, though, Nicola, surely enough to exhaust anyone. I don't know what age yours are now but if they're not in their teens yet - you've got about a decade of puberty to get through. I wish you strength.) And as for the other stuff, the confusing matters, don't worry about those.

Wishing you all a most pleasant Sunday.

Reading the Signs said...

Oh lord, dear hostess, did I do something? Thank you ever so for the licence and please do not ever tell anyone that schlemozzle is actually one of the few yiddish words that I know and therefore if I were appointed to translate say, War and Peace, it would have to do for whole chapters because, you know, needs must. I know sheyne maydel too, though (licence for spelling also appreciated), and that is what you are.

Anna MR said...

Oy vey tsu meina baina, Signs, and bollocks to boot. I had written a reply to you entirely in Yiddish (well, near enough, okay?) and blogger came and ate it up in a server error.

I cannot bear doing it all over again. But you can look under my name for a few other words (and thank you for sheyne maydel. If you dig a bit in a thread only slightly older than this, you'll find I already called myself something very like that).

And no need to thank for the licence, it is yours by obvious deservingness.

Mwah in exasperation - working hard towards the Yiddish Shakeys.

Reading the Signs said...

A broch tzu Columbus, sweet hostess, but I cannot find schlemozzle anywhere on that list. But never mind, for 'tis wonderful and when I have memorised it all I will be able to put myself up in good faith as NMJ's yiddishe translator.

I do not know what is happening with Blogger at the mo - as you know, it swallowed up a veritable dissertation in my comments the other day and - gawd, even the WVLs are coming out in sympathy with us, for they are saying ejhuix loud and clear as I sit here.

Anna MR said...

I feel you need to know that oy vey in Finnish is voi ei, Signschen. Uncannily close, wouldn't you say? And we also say (in informal, spoken Finnish) kaveri for chavver. An obvious connection there, to be sure.

And a choleryeh ahf blogger. Verily.


Merkin said...

Hi MrAnna, thanks for the kind thoughts about my recent bereavements. My virtual friends have been very supportive, showing that there is something good which happens in this strange world.
I have still been writing my own blog but the content was a reflection of my own feeling of despondency. I am ok, now.
Still, you may like the following from that period.
For certain, you will like the old photo in the second link. Hehehehehhe.
I tarted it up as best I could.

Anna MR said...

So much pain and anger there, and grief of course, but beauty too. She was clearly quite a lady.

Thoughts with you. x