The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

10 Jul

I now find myself working a new schedule, Wednesday through Saturday. While this means that I can no longer play Pac-12 softball (please, let’s not speak of this sadness), it does mean that I have two weekdays off.

On this Tuesday, I let my hair go curly. Something I almost never do, because it often frizzes messily or hangs limply like overcooked spaghetti. But today, the planets aligned and my hair curled perfectly; bouncy, honey-colored ringlets falling down my back. So I had to leave my apartment, I had to show my curls to the world.

So I went to the West Village, to a bookshop that had been recommended to me, Three Lives & Company. Lately, I’ve been reading the biography of Elizabeth I. It’s interesting, but it hasn’t been able to pull me in. All those accounts of what happened, what might have happened, and what is no doubt rumors is dizzying, and the writing was as dry as a Wikipedia article. I found myself watching “Gossip Girl” on Netflix at the end of my days instead of curling up with a book. If this happens, it is safe to say that one is reading the wrong book as that show blows. It pulls you in, but it blows.

So I browsed the tiny store for about 30 minutes, until I resolved to buy this book. It has been on my literary to-do list ever since I arrived in my beloved Prague over five years ago. So I purchased the book and headed to a coffee shop. I finished the chapter I was reading about the death of Amy Dudley in Elizabeth I’s biography and picked up the Kundera.

Within the first few pages, I was in love. A lot of times when reading a book, I’ll rush through, read fast and loose so that I can move on to the next book on my to-read list. So many books, so little time. But it is such an amazing and distinct pleasure to find a book that makes me want to go slow, to savor every paragraph. Instead of doing laps in a pool, I’m swimming in a mountain lake on a hot summer day.

My mom always used to tell me that “Money comes, money goes, but money always comes again.” I have found this so true in life, but I’ve found it to be true with everything. After months of the daily grind getting you down, a friend agrees to fly to Japan with you. After weeks of feeling unhappy with your job, a new opportunity presents itself and you find a new passion with which you want to spend your life. After a couple of weekends of nothing interesting, you find yourself at a surprise Brunch birthday party, drinking pitchers of mimosas and laughing with new and old friends for hours. After a series of lackluster dates, a man you’ve known for months crouches down and runs his finger over your tattoo, and it shoots electricity straight to your knees. You remember you’re not the girl who is okay with merely a dinner partner but needs someone who can put your all too sturdy knees in check from time to time. And, finally after throwing “Fifth Shades of Grey” across the room and sighing “Spare me,” and half-heartedly reading a dramatization of the Borgias (what rotten people), and forcing yourself to read a historical book so that you can meet your self-imposed yearly non-fiction quota, you find yourself with an amazing book that you can’t stop thinking about, that you know will be dog-earred, pen-marked, and reread. So if you’ll excuse me, I must return to my book now.

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One Response to “The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera”

  1. wiseone July 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I love when you quote your mom. The woman is a genius.

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