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henri cartier bresson
11 September 2021
Author: Pedro J. Lacort
The Things that Don't Change in September

I'm Luis, good morning, everyone. I'm seated in a café in the center of town taking advantage of the last few days of summer. The shadow of an old lemon tree and the sinuous shapes of the Art Deco patio invite me to distraction, to levity. I'm surprised to find myself thinking that even though September already has its hands full, I will no longer worry about the pressure nor busyness nor routine. I've already detoxed. The August sun has erased my scars. I've almost grown used to the present. The present is toast with oil and tomato and a glass of orange juice, the local newspaper, and morning silence. It's been twenty-eight days since I've looked at my inbox and I barely even remember that I'm unemployed.

Between bites, an alarm goes off inside me. Twenty-eight days later I haven't had the dignity to remove them. That sound I hate so much and is no more than a precursor to sadness, to what's done out of obligation or money-- they're one and the same. That sound expells me from the present, breaks something in my brain. Does it turn me into my true self? No. I want to be the guy eating a quiet breakfast under the lemon tree and reading the newspaper in silence. I keep trying. I persevere.

I'm almost finished, but I figure I'd ask for, as an aside, a macchiato to stay grounded to this peaceful moment I've made for myself. They bring it to me, thank you very much, I start to pour in the sugar, I stir it rhythmically and suddenly, a shout disturbs the first sip. An acquaintance, not even a friend, an acquaintance (an unconscionable one at that) has decided that there is a rule written only by him, which permits him to greet me in the middle of my moment of peace. One needs to know the right way to do things, and there is a way to greet someone who's eating breakfast on the street: lift your hand, accompany said gesture with a smile and never stopping your stips. This specific acquaintance keeps going, but towards my table. Only a psychopath would sit down at the same table as a man eating breakfast calmly. Okay fine, this guy does it, and I, who up until a few seconds ago was feeling annoyed, begin to feel uncomfortable and come up with excuses. He doesn't take the hint. Suddenly, I prefer chaos to peace. I ask for the check and get out of there, leaving my coffee half finished and the newspaper folded along the front page headlines.

Henri Cartier-Bresson drinking coffee

I take to the street, which at that time is a river of numbers, and I let myself go with the rhythm. It's incredible how similar Septembers are to each other. It's probably the most recognizable month. It starts to mist and then rain. I don't have an umbrella with me. I never have one. I'm surprised that people who look at the weather report the night before and stuff an umbrella in with the briefcase. They're the same people who later bring an umbrella to work as if to remind you they're more diligent than you; you're the locust and they're the ant. The same people who, when it starts pouring, they open their umbrella and walk, if at all possible, right under the gutter, moving you to the wet curb, with no prophylaxis nor provisions for winter. Sons of bitches.

Since I don't live far from the café, I manage to run home, I change out of my wet clothes and I put myself in front of my computer. I allow myself to start another day of intensive job searching and video interviews. I open my inbox: nothing. I close Instagram, I close Whatsapp, and I close Vinted. I open LinkedIn. I hate LinkedIn. What is wrong with the people who use this social network? Is that how they are? Do they really talk like that? How many CEOs, directors, managers, partners, coaches, or developers are there in Spain? I hate posturing when it has nothing to do with having fun. Posturing in order to "grow" professionally. Every day there are more professionals and fewer people. The perfect platform for people who prefer to earn a little bit more and be a little bit more unhappy. Shit! It's eleven o'clock! The interview: it's fifteen minutes. I kind of lied to them; I don't think they'll take me anyway.

robert doisneau

Photo: Robert Doisneau

Good morning, Luis.

Yesterday we found ourselves incredibly impressed by your communication skills. You transmit sincerity, ease, and nobility. Our project involves, among other things, those three principles. For us it's less important to havea brilliant résumé nor a fake professionalism that so manyrely on. We prefer to have people around us who believe in whatwe do and can become proud to belong to our team. We want to be as direct as you were yesterday and tell you that we would lovefor you to join us as soon as possible. Reply to this email if this has been good news for you.  

We hope to see you around here shortly.

Regards.

Once again September has brought its changes. The seasons changed, wardrobes changed, and scenery changed. Soccer teams changed their strikers and the kids changed their math teachers. Events will keep on going and it will rain for everyone, those who bring umbrellas and those who don't. Our streak will change, our bad mood, and our perspective. Everything that needs to will change, but changes leave behind a trail. Something like the memory of what we were. Details of things and people that will always be unaltered. Like the river that changed its course one day remembers, suddenly, its original course. In essence: the group of things that don't change in September.

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