Friday, November 29, 2013

Only Once

We were playing an amiable conversation game around the TG dinner table last night when I faced the question: is there something that you have done only once in your life that you would like to do again (I quote from memory)?

At first I said:  no, sorry, nothing, I don't think that way.  Might be an age thing. Lots of things I'm glad to have done, would enjoy doing some over, hope to do new things.  But no.

Then on second thought:  well, now, for example Caravaggio's Calling of St. Matthew, in the San Luigi die Francesi, just off the Piazza Navona in Rome.  I'd love to go see it again. Wait, but you've done it before more than once (half a dozen times, I would guess).  So you can't say you've seen it only once.   Yes, but I did it only once for the first time, and what I'd really like is to do it again for the first time.

You can see where I'm going here.  Good as it was, it will never get any better.  Now that I think of it, I suppose there are a thousand things in my life--maybe tens of thousands, to  which I would give the same treatment.

Update:  but then, one of my co-conversationalists asked: you've been to Rome more than once?  Oh yes, I love Rome.  When you went the second time, did it seem like the first?  Actually no, it was quite different.  So even though not the first time, it was the first second time, not so?  And we wandered off happily arm and in arm into the vale of infinite regress.

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