I travel for the sake of discovering my own life, making my wandering and poking into a matter of examination of me. Others travel, sometimes on the very seat beside me, for reasons I cannot phathom, to get drunk and laugh at parties at world-renowned archaeological sites, to meet some guy to marry, to say they saw, to watch birds, to eat in fine restaurants, to do any number of things it wouldn't occur to me to think of. I think about them and ask what it all means, why they do what they do and care about it. Everyone has his own voyage of discovery, and mine is one too. I ask others, and sometimes I just wonder, but mostly I have no opinion because I don't know, and I can't know. The lives of others are mostly a mystery, as is mine to me.
Recently there was a smallish piece on the Internet about movie hit-men, comparing different Hollywood versions of the same kind of man engaged in professional murder for hire. Travellers of a different sort, they all act from different motivations, having reasons I cannot phathom, strange people doing something I don't understand.
Of all the movie hit-men I've seen over the years there is only one who interested me as a literary character, Joubert, an Alsatian in Three Days of the Condor. I read the book long in advance of seeing the movie on television recently.
Joubert: Would you move from the window, please?
Janice: I won't scream.
Joubert: I know.
I am taken with the girl's quiet Stoicism, and with the assassin's quiet acknowledgement of it and his grasp. These are people I would like to travel with.
I spent some time in the jungle some years ago with a man who had killed more people than I can grasp. I can't understand how one can kill so many people. And yet, for all his killing, he will die a virgin, never having penetrated anyone meaningfully. He was the difference between a machine and a poet, the two making, the latter creating. In my travels I have seen these things. I am left considering the nature of the soul. Some don't scream. I know this, too. I know the road.