I always forget something important when I travel — mobile phone, lap top, socks, etc — but this time I’ve really done it: I left without taking my copy of Don Quixote. Five weeks without El Caballero de la Triste Figura and his faithful escudero Sancho Panza! I’m already experiencing withdrawal pains, which are manifesting themselves in strange ways. I have a forthcoming trip to Holland, for example, which has me shaking with anxiety.
Clearly, this oversight is going to set back my timeline for becoming “an educated man” considerably.
The good news is that, during my last reading, Cervantes had come to his senses and introduced another character, a goatherd (you remember Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music: “Listen to the sound of the lonely goatherd, odeodeoheehee!), who introduced his own narrative, giving us several pages of relief from the stultifying intercourse between the priest and canonist. At the end of the goatherd’s tale he made the mistake of dissing Knight Errants in general, suggesting they were fictional and didn’t really exist, which prompted DQ to whack him across the face with a stale bagette. A brawl ensued, with goatherd getting in several good licks before Sancho joined the fray, turning the odds in his master’s favor.
The most interesting thing about the DQ – SP relationship is that, while Sancho knows his master is bonkers, because Don Quijote has promised his escudero a feifdom — complete with lands, peasants and title — at the end of their journey, Panza is reluctant to desert him in case Don Quijote actually delivers. I think Woody Allen may have purloined this concept in the joke at the end of Annie Hall where the psychologist says he doesn’t want to cure his patient of his delusion that he is a chicken “because I need the eggs.”
And, although I realize I haven’t gotten to the subject matter suggested in the title of this blog, as the shrinks say: “I’m sorry, but we’ve run out of time.”
A la prochaine, then. Payment at the time of treatment would be appreciated.