23 January 2010

Phenomenon #2: Pears, Pairing and Thinking Symbols in the Body

In which the author learns about the bodily nature of symbols shopping for pears.

Description: I am at Segal's (aka 4001 St. Laurent), doing shopping, for the first time in too long a time. I see some pears (Bosc) and reach for them. Their sense for me in this reaching is not: pear-as-biological-fruit or even pear-as-produce, but pear-as-something-my-partner-particularly-likes-in-a-special-kind-of-way. I.e., I am not reaching for them as mere fruit, but as connecting me up with home, my partner, love, my life. The reaching is not mere motor-perceptual-movement here in this store, but emotional and futurally expansive (already involved in something far beyond this-here-moment, with that something beyond, its futurity, itself a theme, vs. the kind of extension beyond the moment inherent in any ongoing moment).

In this very reaching, something else appears. This is Vito Corleone's gesture (beautifully and compellingly acted by Robert de Niro in Godfather: Part II)  of taking a pear (carefully wrapped in protective newspaper) from his pocket, unwrapping it and proudly, tenderly, concentratedly, affirmatively, and gently setting it on the kitchen table to surprise his wife with a gift, as if this pear, or this pear as enabling this giving gesture, is the centre of the world, or something on which a shared life can be centred. (This is after Vito has unjustly lost his job to Don Fanucci's nephew.)