I received the following email today.
Subject: ‘Hello! How’s life?’
Hello dear stranger!
I’d like to find a man for friendship and may be more serious relationships later.
You are the one Id like to know. Just want to say that I am from Moldova. This is between Romania and Ukraine. I live in the city of Tiraspol.
I’m 33 years old and in next month will be 34. I’m looking for a man in your country because my cousin lives there with her husband and I plan go there in the next months.
I chose this country because it is very good and pure soul of the people. It would be fine to meet you in person.
I’m sincerely interested in knowing more about you. Dating is not just fun for me, I never play games.
I expect that you are also serious. I’m a lonely woman that wants to find someone that will take care and understand me.
Let me tell you more about myself. I assume that I am a strong woman with goals, ideals and ambitions.
I hope that this letter will help us to write the first lines of each other.
I’ll wait for your answer.
Naturally I was pleased, in fact a little flattered, that someone from a far country, someone quite unknown to me, should seek my thoughts on such a matter: the subject –
How’s Life? – is deeply philosophical, a question that has engaged great minds since ancient times. With considerable deliberation I began to compose my reply. Obviously the question was compellingly important to my correspondent, for Adela had written to me deep in the Moldovan night hours. Philosophic dubiety was depriving the good lady of her sleep.
It came to me that I know insufficient of life in Moldova. My new penfriend deserved better than a half-informed reply. So I googled Moldova. I was in luck: the first of very many links led to ‘Women in Moldova’. I clicked and found myself faced with a picture gallery. Instantly I saw that Moldovan women suffer a shortage of clothing – none of the ladies was completely dressed.
A second glance revealed that all were the beneficiaries of augmentary surgery. Now I began to find my bearings – Adela would be a semi-clad philosopher, who was either a surgeon (hence her choice of this medical colleague as her sage) or the survivor of surgery.
I clicked on and read the following: ‘Are Moldovan women easy? | Women of Moldova, marriage, dating …
girl from Moldova Moldovan women do not respect themselves. Whom should woman be to stay at 3 am on the intersection under the traffic lights for 15 minutes…’
Seeking more information I clicked to continue this promising discussion and found my software forbade further access. Odd. Apparently my software is not philosophy friendly. Undeterred, I googled Tiraspol and read the following: ‘Tiraspol, the capital of a country that doesn’t exist: Transnistria
Tiraspol. Did you know that some countries don’t exist? Well, they do exist, but they are not recognized by the United Nations.’
Now I felt I understood poor Adela’s plight: her country does not exist. What is the meaning of her life? She makes clear her serious nature (“I never play games”). I realised Australia will be culturally alien to Adela. In Australia we only play games: our religion is sport. Sport renders philosophy unnecessary, transcending mere speculation on meaning and purpose. This also made clear Adela’s choice of me, of the roughly 23 million Australian’s to be her life guide. She writes: I expect that you are also serious. Indeed. Just so.
Modestly Adela revealed her own moral uncertainty. She wrote: I assume that I am a strong woman with goals, ideals and ambitions. ‘I assume’ suggests deep self-doubt. Immediately I thought of a more suitable guide, Ruby, my four-year old granddaughter. That young lady is most certainly a strong woman, positively laden with goals, ambitions and ideals. World domination would be her initial aim. Just this morning, Ruby asked her mother – quite without context or prior discussion – ‘Mummy, why did Mandela go to jail?’
I decided to hand Adela’s case to Ruby.
Trust you to plumb a philosophical approach for all it’s worth. Please ask Adela if she has an older brother. And, let us know what Ruby finds out.
Too witty, Yvonne
I can offer no worthy riposte
On board my flight to Malta – about to take off
I will have lots of time to consider a reply
Until that happy stage, hats off to you
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Good morning Yvonne
I write from Ruby’s home where I am visiting. More accurately I should refer to Ruby’s demesne, where she rules as hegemon, notwithstanding occasional attempted coups on the part of her mother. These of course are doomed. So too are all attempts at power sharing.
Ruby favoured me with a prolonged audience. I felt like Disraeli in the court of the empress Victoria.
She has added to her impressive repertoire of skills a formidable vocabulary and a kindly willingness to explain difficult matters to lesser minds – into which category her elder brother, her parents and all adults fall. Ruby’s explications, accompanied by helpful hand gestures, are delivered with her voice modulated to a bellow. Again, this is helpful for a deafish grandperson,if socially challenging in a crowded restaurant where Ruby declaims on the matter of underpants. On this ruby holds strong , if trumpishly inconsistent positions.
At your suggestion I put to her Adela’s questions about the meaning of life in a country that doesn’t exist. Her response, oracular, was to direct my attention- once again – to the memory game in which her vanquished grandmother had accumulated a poor few cards, the elder brother rather more -while she,Ruby held more cards than her small palm could accommodate. Subtly she was demonstrating the nature of imperial reach – and overreach- to which the will to power is subject. Profound and surely helpful to the would-be bride from Moldova.
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You’re lucky to be within Her Majesty’s orbit, it seems. I wonder what life holds in store for this little miss (and her underpants ).