Happy Days Question #4 - Reality

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Happy Days Question #4 - Reality

Unread postby Liz » Thu Dec 07, 2006 4:42 am

Pg. 40. “I try to leave my days free, allowing myself only the bare minimum of distractions from reality.”

What reality is Antoine talking about?
Last edited by Liz on Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Charlene » Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:12 am

Perhaps that he is letting life pass him by, while conducting this experiment of his.

I don't think Antoine wants to think too hard about this experiment of his (his reality)...he's made his bed, and he's going to sleep in it, he's going to participate in the outings, even though he doesn't desire to, because that is the path he has chosen. He made the decision, and now, it's almost like he wakes up and just puts one foot in front of the other and gets through the day. If he stops to think, he might just realize, he's not on the right path. His reality sucks. If he was distracted from his day-to-day reality, he might bolt, and his experiment would be a failure.

You see glimpes of this when he at first says that old people don't care what other people think...but toward the end, he changes his mind on that. I think if he got distracted from the reality of this new life he has chosen....he might follow Bebel to the gate and never come back.

What a waste of a life...at least he could have aspired to write a book, to share this "experiment." I think a very telling line in the book was when Al died....and Antoine's memory died with him...because Al was the only one who knew the Why of Antoine.

The one thing that bothers me about old Antoine is the fact that he totally deserted his children. He passes it off as they weren't interested in his advice and kiss him like people kiss old people, but they are teens, and what teens do and what kids think inside their heads (where no one can see or make fun of), are two different things. What parent hasn't had a teen snub them or brush them off, but many many times, when it's just one-on-one, and the teen needs someone to talk to, or just relax and not put on a front, they turn to the parent. Where was Antoine?

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:44 am

When I read that line about not wanting to be distracted from reality, I stopped and thought, "What??!!" It seemed like all he wanted to do was to be distracted from reality! So I guess he is trying to convince himself that the slow, measured life of the elderly is his reality and that he tries hard to concentrate on that, without letting in thoughts of what should be reality--love, marriage, children, employment, service-- for a young man.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:52 am

I agree with you Betty Sue, his reality is what goes on in the home everythiing else is a distraction.I felt that even the things that drew him out of the home, he felt were distracting him from his reality

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Unread postby Parlez » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:08 pm

Yes, I agree ~ his reality is the flow and pace and circumstances of the home. Like a traveler in a foreign country, he wants to immerse himself in the 'reality' of where he is. He doesn't want to be reminded of where he's been or to consider where he's going; he only wants to accept things the way they are now. In a way, I think he wants time to stop.
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Unread postby gemini » Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:58 pm

I try to leave my days free, allowing myself only the bare minimum of distractions from reality.

My off the cuff answer was anything he had to do in his day was a distraction from his voyeurism.

I have to admit that I didn't remember this line after reading this book twice now. I went back to re-read the page hoping the context he said it in would give me a clue for a better answer. I notice it was said just after he says Alzheimer died in the hospital but he seems to have continued his day without missing a beat after the news.

There may be a clue when he answers Jamel's questions as he waits for him to mop his room. In guessing reasons to satisfy his queriosity as to why Antionne is living there he says: You got something to hide, you screwed up, you lying low, you playing dead? At this, Antionne flashes him a smile and says sort of.

He then goes to a pottery making class which is part of the homes daily workshops. He says he didn't last long and now declines to participate in any workshops. He only participates in the outings and shows.

I didn't see his reasoning in refusing one type of activity over the other, as they are all part of living in the home unless he is only interested in watching activities and not in participating activities.

Thinking back on his favorite activity which is bench sitting, I think I have to stay with my original answer. The bare minimum of distractions for him rules out all activities that are not just watching as the world goes by.
Last edited by gemini on Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Liz » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:01 pm

Betty Sue wrote:When I read that line about not wanting to be distracted from reality, I stopped and thought, "What??!!" It seemed like all he wanted to do was to be distracted from reality! So I guess he is trying to convince himself that the slow, measured life of the elderly is his reality and that he tries hard to concentrate on that, without letting in thoughts of what should be reality--love, marriage, children, employment, service-- for a young man.


That is the exact response that I had when I read the passage, Betty Sue. And I think it could be that he knows that if he gets distracted by the outside world, he might just bolt, like Charlene said. It is interesting, Charlene, that you point out that he doesn’t want to be distracted from his goal or path—which is, in essence, a commitment. Funny how he couldn’t commit to real life pursuits.
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Unread postby Liz » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:06 pm

gemini wrote: My off the cuff answer was anything he had to do in his day was a distraction from his voyeurism.

He then goes to a pottery making class which is part of the homes daily workshops. He says he didn't last long and now declines to participate in any workshops. He only participates in the outings and shows.

I didn't see his reasoning in refusing one type of activity over the other, as they are all part of living in the home unless he is only interested in watching activities and not in participating activities.
Thinking back on his favorite activity which is bench sitting, I think I have to stay with my original answer. The bare minimum of distractions for him rules out all activities that are not just watching as the world goes by.


We keep coming back to this--his preference to be an observer, not a participant. :-O
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Unread postby Depputante » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:33 pm

Liz wrote:
gemini wrote: My off the cuff answer was anything he had to do in his day was a distraction from his voyeurism.

He then goes to a pottery making class which is part of the homes daily workshops. He says he didn't last long and now declines to participate in any workshops. He only participates in the outings and shows.

I didn't see his reasoning in refusing one type of activity over the other, as they are all part of living in the home unless he is only interested in watching activities and not in participating activities.
Thinking back on his favorite activity which is bench sitting, I think I have to stay with my original answer. The bare minimum of distractions for him rules out all activities that are not just watching as the world goes by.


We keep coming back to this--his preference to be an observer, not a participant. :-O


Well, with Pottery, you have to touch and maneuver and change your materials. With the other activities, you can sit back and observe.
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Re: Happy Days Question #3 - Reality

Unread postby Depputante » Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:42 pm

Liz wrote:Pg. 40. “I try to leave my days free, allowing myself only the bare minimum of distractions from reality.”

What reality is Antoine talking about?


Yesterday, we sort of mentioned "Real life becomes too cruelly human."
Today Antoinne is discussing that he is discusted with the vulgarity of manipulating the pottery, and links that to reality.

:eyebrow: Morning, mates! :capnjack: :morning:
Here's my guess: Not to be difficult, but I'm beginning to think it's neither inside nor outside Happy Days, it's inside himself. He feels reality is very cruel and manipulative. Anything he has to manipulate and change, and actively physically touch, he considers to be 'real', hence HIS reality.

It's odd how he relates the 'mental' cruelity and manipulating of the outside world to the 'physical' cruel manipulating of the pottery. :eyebrow: How did that happen?

I think i've gone through a Paradigm shift, and am now able to see things in books I never could before, especially with ONBC help! Makes me want to go back and take that Highschool English class that I nearly flunked, over again.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Endora » Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:05 pm

That pasage made me think of what I imagine is a Buddhist view, the idea that most of the things we see in "real life" are distractions, things that create wants that pull us down and stop us seeing the spiritual side of life. I'm not good on religious theory but I know that some of you here will be able to explain this much more clearly.
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Re: Happy Days Question #3 - Reality

Unread postby gemini » Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:11 pm

Depputante said:

Here's my guess: Not to be difficult, but I'm beginning to think it's neither inside nor outside Happy Days, it's inside himself.

Yup, I agree. :cool:
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Unread postby suec » Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:26 pm

I think that the reality he is referring to is death, and his contemplation of it. That's his reality and his focus. Anything else is a distraction for him.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Unread postby Depputante » Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Endora wrote:That pasage made me think of what I imagine is a Buddhist view, the idea that most of the things we see in "real life" are distractions, things that create wants that pull us down and stop us seeing the spiritual side of life. I'm not good on religious theory but I know that some of you here will be able to explain this much more clearly.


Oh, yeah, I didn't notice that, but now that you mention it, Endora, yes, it could be that too. The meditative state, and a 'higher reality'. Good observation.

I like this 'Buddhist theme' runnign through the book, but the only reason that we found it is because of the Tidbit research about what we think to be the author's religious preferences, and he also said he did not want readers to delve into his life in order to read the book! SO... do you think this religious theme has validity in the book or not? (Perhaps this is a future question? ....so I'll leave this here, and hope it's NOT answered untill we here from our own ONBC-Baba's.) Perhaps it's just a simple, meaning of life, and death theme, and we're reading too much into the book? :-?
Last edited by Depputante on Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Parlez » Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:30 pm

Hmmm....since I'm one of those who facilitates so-called
'enrichment' activities in nursing homes (like pottery) this line of thinking hits home!
But I'm not sure about Antoine's decision not to participate...
is it because he'd rather be the observer?
And is there something about that position and perspective that allows for more...purity?
For some reason that's the word that keeps popping up for me
with Antoine as a main motive and drive for him. I mean, when you're not participating you're not manipulating anything and you're not bringing your own 'stuff' in...so the scene can be filmed, so to speak, AS IT IS. Purely.
The Buddhists have a word, 'suchness', that describes the essence, or completeness, of things...
If you can cut through the
:censored: and see people and things for their perfect, unique, complete 'suchness', including yourself, you stop trying to make everything conform to you or vice verse.
I like to think (because I really like Antoine) that this is
what he's after, even if he doesn't know it.
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa

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