It’s Friday evening and after a fairly easy day in the hot air of Phnom Penh I have succumbed to the lure of a horizontal surface. I am counting the ways of senility, waking and forgetting to shake my towel results in ant bites, hmmmmm. Reading a book on early onset Alzheimer’s has led me to lie in bed, sit in cafes and generally concern myself with attempting to remember things, recent things, like the names of actors in various films, the author of the book I’m reading, the whereabouts of small countries in Africa, the location of my glasses. The book “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova, has been made into a film with Juliette Moore and Alec Baldwin, I so wanted to write Alec Guinness, you know the guy who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars (1977) and a prince in Lawrence of Arabia. Now those memories run deep but ask me if I can remember yesterdays lunch, hmmmmm again.
“Still Alice” is a novel written by a neuroscientist about a devastating hereditary disease, early onset Alzheimers, and the gradual stripping away of the layers of memory, personality, language and relationships, all the things that we think of as generally making up significant aspects of ourselves. Word games, music, exercise, sports, good diet, hydration, warm communication and relationships all serve to give us meaning and train our bodies and minds all useless against this disease. It is a poignant and compelling read, thoughtful and strangely, a real page turner, even though I kinda knew the ending.
There is a branch of science called Biocentrism Robert Lanser talks about it here:
Biocentrism suggests that everything we believe about reality is really not quite true and that reality is a continual construction brought about by the play of consciousness and energy. Sound something that a mystic might say, well guys get with the program science has finally stuck a toe into the waters of ecstatic awareness and quantum insight. As consciousness expands so does our world view, the opposite is most likely also true.
It’s the short term and luminous flow of now that percolate through my reality illuminating a moment. Like a water feature suddenly being turned off, and the quiet descending like a cool silk sheet or thoughts that are big enough stick to the memory creases of my mind, “The universe is probably expanding because all the information gathered from the myriad experiences of diverse living things needs more storage. God has a storage problem, and a dust problem, like any house wife.”
I caught a Tuk Tuk to the Orussay market today. A haven for those who lust after cheap clothes and roll upon roll of materials. Patterns, cottons, polyesters, velvets colours and the heat. A wizened women and I swapped heat gestures I attempted to say “Ktaw khlang nass.” It’s very hot. Now English take place mostly on the bottom of your mouth most words finish with the tongue on the bottom palate, where as Khmer all takes place at the roof of your mouth, its very nasal, with lots of diphthongeee double tones that are hard to hear let alone repeat.
The cloth seller’s mother or aunt or whatever she was, looked at me with the blank stare of incomprehension and then as I fanned she smiled and nodded. She said the phrase back to me, and then I to her, a crowd was gathering to watch this piece of performance language, I kl-anged and held the long vowel, howls of laughter, a chorus now corrected me and when they were satisfied I could say “Ktaw khlang nasa,” the laughter trickled to a finish the old aunty started to cough from laughing so much and there we were in a hot cloth stall me slapping her on the back and attempting to gather my purchases and find my horizontal moment.