January 15: the replicant of our former selves

I was complaining about neighbours. I was saying I just don’t understand that when they get home late and all the building is quiet they think it is all right to be talking loudly and putting loud music on. And then I checked with my younger self. Did I ever do that? In Paris where I lived when I was younger did I never have parties in buildings that were quiet? I suppose I did. In fact, I absolutely did. And did it ever worry me? Did I think about it? No, because I was too busy worrying about my party. If people would come. If the right people would come. My preoccupations were busy elsewhere.

It is a fault of the imagination and an inbility to see that time has passed, that you have changed. When I was about twelve I used to steal chocolate bars from the Spar. That doesn’t sound like me either. And let’s not think about how I used to behave with members of the opposite sex. We change. Probably even things I did last year might now seem incomprehensible to me. Even last week. And our imagination refuses to take an interest in other people’s preoccupations sometimes. The neighbours. The members of the opposite sex. We are the ghosts of the person we once were. What is this new body we now walk round in? We are like the replicant in the sci-fi film that takes the place of our former selves.

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