I’ve always been fascinated by people who are passionately obsessed with what they do, no matter what it is. For these individuals, the pursuit of excellence is highly addictive, they are quality-junkies with an insane attention for details. Typically, they have little interest in entertainment and live in a symbiosis with their obsession; others often admire them but tend to avoid inviting them to parties. Yesterday I went to Ten Katemarkt, a neighbourhood market in the West of Amsterdam, for my grocery shopping. Some veggies and a cone of fries was all I was after, in this unexpectedly sunny Dutch afternoon, but I ended up making an interesting encounter instead – the path to serendipity is unpredictable by definition.
Watch the book releases in September: something warm and tasty is cooking for you and some other millions people. That food connects us one another and to our environment is a very basic concept we first learn as school kids, with that of food chain. Unfortunately we tend to forget that we live in a network of feeding relationships with the world, until we bump into a reminder.
One of my absolute favourite books is Italo Calvino’s “If on a winter’s night a traveller” – first published by the renown Italian publishing house Einaudi in 1979. The novel is a hauntingly entertaining chain of inceptions based on the ultimate need of any reader, or simply of anyone who is listening to a story: the urge to answer the classic question “what happens next?” The very ordinary heroes of Calvino’s book – a man and a woman who meet in a bookshop while trying to find the missing part of a novel they both began to read – are after a story that never comes to a conclusion, but instead keeps drawing the readers to more and more unfinished stories, and eventually to one another.
What kind of flyer are you? I hope you are not of the chatterbox type …although, if you are, please come forward: I think we need to talk. Not chat. Not screech. Talk. Aircrafts seem to provide an ambience where some personality traits come to the surface more easily. I see my trips by plane as little social experiments. It’s like sitting and watching the fish go by in an overcrowded water tank (while being inside the tank as one of the fish). I have the feeling that people tend to assess on a specific behavioural pattern when travelling by plane. I think it’s a consequence of mental dissociation. It is a psychological fact that your mind needs to dissociate from your situation when you are stuck in a metal box thousands of meters above ground level, confined in the smallest personal space you will ever tolerate in a social situation, with limitations as to standing up, turning, satisfying personal necessities (toilet, email-checks, uploads of selfies to Instagram). Would you be conscious of your actual position all …
I recently enrolled on Toastmasters International. If you are already picturing me graciously rotating a glass of red wine, I am afraid I’m going to burst your bubble. Toastmasters International is a network of clubs that provides a well organised and friendly environment to practice public speaking and improve communication and leadership skills.
I received my first birthday present up in the sky this year. The author of the gift was my dear friend Nina, with whom I was travelling from Amsterdam to Lucca, Italy, to celebrate. We were probably flying over Germany or France when she handed me a funny patterned bag and wished me happy birthday.