I have nothing in common with that carrot, take it away.

I have just finished ‘In The Shadow Of Young Girls In Bloom’ by Proust, and of course, it’s full of deeply insightful nuggets about human behaviour, especially the utter insanity of being in love. I’m pretty sure most of us can look back on a time in our lives and cringe ourselves up tighter than a plastic bag thrown into a fire at our awful, embarrassing, and clumsily contrived schemes to get someone to notice us.

A vast portion of the book is essentially a postcard from Proust’s holiday in Balbec (in real life Cabourg), which he hates to start off with, but soon get used to, meets some hot young chicks, hangs out at the beach, plays golf (alas normal, not crazy) and is then sad to go home. My favourite section of the whole book is his young female friend’s confusion at why he only eat cakes when they go out for tea, and not sandwiches. His reason is that he has nothing in common with a Cheshire Cheese and lettuce sandwich. But fruity tarts remind him of his country home in Combray, fancy cakes are like those eaten by posh ladies, and so privy to secrets and such. To not eat a cheese sandwich because I has nothing in common with it, to me seems akin to not being able to go to work because a badger trod on an acorn. But really, I think I’m just jealous of the bravado of his reasoning, and something I should have the guts to employ. Next time someone tries to force a chunk of dry fruit cake or some soggy chips onto me, I’m going to tell them I’m afraid I can’t eat it as *it clashes with my hair/the birds are flying south/it’s a full moon/today I am only eating food beginning with ‘P’/I wanna know what love is, I want you to show me/the carpet is the wrong colour.       *delete as appropriate

I may not have written a huge novel based on a rush of memory triggered by food, but I’m sure Proust would not begrudge my adoption of his kooky reasoning style.

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How Proust might have looked around the time of his seaside jollies.

Proust and his brother with his granny in younger days, whom he went on holiday with to glorious Balbec. It's not fair, all my grandparents did was take me away for a week in their caravan, for a week of Radio 4, antique shops, and a tank museum.

Proust and his brother with his granny in younger days, whom he went on holiday with to glorious Balbec. It’s not fair, all my grandparents did was take me away in their caravan, for a week of Radio 4, antique shops, and a tank museum.

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