Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Sombre thoughts

Yesterday the funeral was a gloomy occasion and not one easy to overcome, even though I did not know NL's daughter personally. One moment that was especially revealing -- perhaps my only moment of lucidity during the service -- was that of the eulogies, were a local guy's hollow verbosity and formulaic praise of the deceased (characteristic, alas, of the Outpost, Compatridia and this part of the planet in general) contrasted sharply with NL's sober, witty, eloquent, expectedly personal and unexpectedly theological speech, in a continually breaking voice. Of course, NL is Australian.

One thing that I admired during the service is the dignity and composure of the local mourners (the girl's father is an Outposter). Not that they were cold or detached, not that there was a single pair of dry eyes or stiff lips anywhere in the packed church. But I know that in a 19 year old's funeral in Compatridia you cannot hear yourself thinking for the succession of cacophonous emissions of high pitched screams and shrieks and yelps, you cannot concentrate on the deceased for the waves of fainting women and for men banging their heads against walls. Ok, Outposters may lack in clever wit or warmth of emotion or what have you, but they also appear to show wondrous dignity, not numbness, not repression, towards such pain. I was profoundly impressed.

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