The rotten driver

[Tamara de Lempicka, Autoportrait (1925]
[Ese mismo año F.S.FItzgerald publicó The Great Gastby]

Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably dishonest. She wasn't able to endure being at disadvantage and, given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool, insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard, jaunty body.

It made no difference to me. Dishonesty in a woman is a thing you never blame deeply - I was casually sorry, and then I forgot. It was on that same house party that we had a curious conversation about driving a car. It started because she passed so close to some workmen that our fender flicked a button on one man's coat.

'You're a rotten driver,' I protested. 'Either you ought to be more careful, or you oughtn't to drive at all.'

'I am careful.'
'No, you're not.'
'Well, other people are,' she said lightly.

'What's that got to do with it?'
'They'll keep out of my way,' she insisted. 'It takes two to make an accident.'
'Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself.'
'I hope I never will,' she answered. 'I hate careless people. That's why I like you.'

[Scott Fitzgerald, Francis (1994), The Great Gatsby, Londres: Penguin. P.64]

Siempre me ha fascinado esta escena, en parte porque no la comprendía totalmente, en parte porque es crucial para entender un libro en el que las fuerzas al volante son tan importantes (el dreamboat de Gastby termina encallando en la piscina, por no hablar de otros choques). El video de The Verve que colgué el otro día me la trajo a la memoria, pero de alguna manera ha enrutado mi pensamiento por otras vías. Yo también soy cinco años demasiado vieja para mentirme a mi misma y llamarlo honor.

A los que tengan esta edición y hayan leído el libro: la página 184 cierra la conversación. Construye el libro y derriba los pedestales.

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