Proximity Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 42 quotes )
What reconciles me to my own death more than anything else is the image of a place: a place where your bones and mine are buried, thrown, uncovered, together. They are strewn there pell-mell. One of your ribs leans against my skull. A metacarpal of my left hand lies inside your pelvis. (Against my broken ribs your breast like a flower.) The hundred bones of our feet are scattered like gravel. It is strange that this image of our proximity, concerning as it does mere phosphate of calcium, should bestow a sense of peace. Yet it does. With you I can imagine a place where to be phosphate of calcium is enough.
They carried on a curious intermittent conversation which flicked on and off like the beams of a lighthouse suddenly nipped into silence by the approach of a Party uniform or the proximity of a telescreen then taken up again minutes later in the middle of a sentence then abruptly cut short as they parted at the agreed spot then continued almost without introduction on the following day.
There's no such thing as "The One", she once said. They were at dinner in Taipei, with a supplier and his wife. The couple had been married forty years. The idea that there's just one person in the world you're meant to be with, it's illogical, she said. She'd had a few drinks and was enjoying her own loud thoughts. The math just doesn't work! Who you end up with, it's really just an accident of proximity.
Something, most certainly, happens to a diver’s emotions underwater. It is not merely a side effect of the pleasing, vaguely erotic sensation of water pressure on the body. Nor is it alone the peculiar sense of weightlessness, which permits a diver to hang motionless in open water, observing sea life large as whales around him; not the ability of a diver, descending in that condition, to slowly tumble and rotate in all three spatial planes. It is not the exhilaration from disorientation that comes when one’s point of view starts to lose its “lefts” and “down” and gains instead something else, a unique perception that grows out of the ease of movement in three dimensions. It is not from the diminishment of gravity to a force little more emphatic than a suggestion. It is not solely exposure to an unfamiliar intensity of life. It is not a state of rapture with the bottomless blue world beneath one’s feet…it is some complicated mix of these emotions, together with the constant proximity of real terror.
Now it is not everybody, even amongst our respected friends and esteemed acquaintance, whom we like to have near us, whom we like to watch us, to wait on us, to approach us with the proximity of a nurse to a patient. It is not every friend whose eye is a light in a sickroom, whose presence is there a solace.
I suspect almost every day that I’m living for nothing, I get depressed and I feel self-destructive and a lot of the time I don’t like myself. What’s more, the proximity of other humans often fills me with overwhelming anxiety, but I also feel that this precarious sentience is all we’ve got and, simplistic as it may seem, it’s a person’s duty to the potentials of his own soul to make the best of it. We’re all stuck on this often miserable earth where life is essentially tragic, but there are glints of beauty and bedrock joy that come shining through from time to precious time to remind anybody who cares to see that there is something higher and larger than ourselves. And I am not talking about your putrefying gods, I am talking about a sense of wonder about life itself and the feeling that there is some redemptive factor you must at least search for until you drop dead of natural causes.
For the rest of history, for most of us, our bright promise will always fall short of being actualised; it will never earn us bountiful sums of money or beget exemplary objects or organisations....Most of us stand poised at the edge of brilliance, haunted by the knowledge of our proximity, yet still demonstrably on the wrong side of the line, our dealings with reality undermined by a range of minor yet critical psychological flaws (a little too much optimism, an unprocessed rebelliousness, a fatal impatience or sentimentality). We are like an exquisite high-speed aircraft which for lack of a tiny part is left stranded beside the runway, rendered slower than a tractor or a bicycle.
We're up against the conventional thinking that says your ability to lead as president comes from longevity in Washington or proximity to the White House. But we know that real leadership is about candor and judgment and the ability to rally Americans from all walks of life around a common purpose, a higher purpose.
It takes so little, so infinitely little, for someone to find himself on the other side of the boarder, where everything - love, conviction, faith, history - no longer has meaning. The whole mystery of human life resides in the fact that it is spent in the immediate proximity of, and even direct contact with, that boarder, that it is separated from it not by kilometers but by barely a millimeter.
That night there was no conversation, no prayers or stories around the fire, as if the proximity of Jerusalem demanded respectful silence, each man searching his heart and asking, Who is this person who resembles me yet whom I fail to recognize. This is not what they actually said, for people do not start talking to themselves like that, nor was this even in their conscious thoughts, but there can be no doubt that as we sit staring into the flames of a camp fire, our silence can be expressed only with words like these, which say everything.
It did not seem possible that Wendy Wright had been born out of blood and internal organs like other people. In proximity to her he felt himself to be a squat, oily, sweating, uneducated nurt whose stomach rattled and whose breath wheezed. Near her he became aware of the physical mechanisms which kept him alive; within him machinery, pipes and valves and gas-compressors and fan belts had to chug away at a losing task, a labor ultimately doomed. Seeing her face, he discovered that his own consisted of a garish mask; noticing her body made him feel like a low-class wind-up toy.
The parks used to be described on maps as the Upper Pleasure Gardens and Lower Pleasure Gardens, but some councillor or other force for good realized the profound and unhealthy implications of placing 'Lower' and 'Pleasure' in such immediate proximity and successfully lobbied to have 'Lower' removed from the title, so now you have the Upper Pleasure Gardens and the mere Pleasure Gardens, and lexical perverts have been banished to the beaches where they must find such gratification as they can by rubbing themselves on the groynes.
Although it was only six o'clock, the night was already dark. The fog, made thicker by its proximity to the Seine, blurred every detail with its ragged veils, punctured at various distances by the reddish glow of lanterns and bars of light escaping from illuminated windows. The road was soaked with rain and glittered under the street-lamps, like a lake reflecting strings of lights. A bitter wind, heavy with icy particles, whipped at my face, its howling forming the high notes of a symphony whose bass was played by swollen waves crashing into the piers of the bridges below. The evening lacked none of winter's rough poetry.
Anyone who's ever flown London to Sydney, seated next to or anywhere in the proximity of a fussy baby, you'll no doubt fall right into the swing of things in Hell. What with the strangers and crowding and seemingly endless hours of waiting for nothing to happen, for you Hell will feel like one long, nostalgic hit a deja vu. Especially if your in-flight movie was The English Patient. In Hell, whenever the demons announce they're going to treat everyone to a big-name Hollywood movie, don't get too excited because it's always The English Patient, or, unfortunately, The Piano. It's never The Breakfast Club.
He said that for those who hadn't been to California, what it was most like was an enchanted island. The spitting image. Just like in the movies, but better. People live in houses, not apartment buildings, he said, and then he embarked on a comparison of houses (one-story, at most two-story), and four- or five-story buildings where the elevator is broken one day and out of order the next. The only way buildings compared favorably to houses was in terms of proximity. A neighborhood of buildings makes distances shorter, he said. Everything is closer. You can go walking to buy groceries or you can walk to your local tavern (here he winked at Reverend Foster), or the local church you belong to, or a museum. In other words, you don't need to drive. You don't even need a car. And here he recited a list of statistics on fatal car accidents in a county of Detroit and a county of Los Angeles. And that's even considering that cars are made in Detroit, he said, not Los Angeles.
It takes so little, so infinitely little, for a person to cross the border beyond which everything loses meaning: love, convictions, faith, history. Human life -- and herein lies its secret -- takes place in the immediate proximity of that border, even in direct contact with it; it is not miles away, but a fraction of an inch.