A Fine Day for Kangarooing

Thirty-Two-Year-Old Day Tripper

Thirty-Two-Year-Old Day Tripper
Haruki Murakami
translated by brian wilson

I'm thirty-two and she's eighteen...
To think of that makes me disgusted.
I'm still thirty-two and she's already eighteen... This sounds OK.
We are only friends, no more or no less. I have my wife, and she has six boy friends. She dates with each of the six boyfriends on weekdays, and dates with me on one of the Sundays every month. On the other Sundays she watches TV at her home.
When watching TV, she is lovely like a walrus.
She was born in 1963, the year when President Kennedy was shot to death. It was also the year when I had a first date with a girl. Cliff Richard's "Summer Holiday" was popular then, wasn't it?
It really doesn't matter. She was born in such a year.
I didn't expect that I would have a date with a girl born in such a year. Even now it feels like a wonder. It's as if I were on the other side of the moon and smoking a cigarette leaning on a rock.
Young girls are boring, the men around me unanimously say. What young girls talk about is on a different plane from theirs and their responses are hackneyed, they say. In spite of that they often go out with young girls. Have they found young girls who are not boring? No, of course not. In short, the fact that they are boring is attractive to them. They enjoy from the bottom of their hearts a complicated game in which a bucketful of boredom is poured on them while they never sprinkle even a drop of boredom on the girls. It seems so at least to me.
The fact is that nine out of ten young girls are boring but of course they are not aware of it. They are young, pretty, and full of curiosity. They believe that they are far from boring. Oh, God.
I'm not blaming young girls nor I hate them. On the contrary, I love them. They remind me of my young boring days. This is, how should I say, wonderful. We were beautifully hackneyed and boring when we were young.
"Hey, have you ever wished you would be eighteen again?" she asks.
"No, I haven't, and no amount of money would make me want to be eighteen again." I answered. It seemed that she didn't understand what I said.
"No? Really?"
"Of course, not."
"I like what I am now."
Lost in thought with her chin on her hand, she stirred her coffee with a spoon.
"I can't believe what you say."
"You'd better believe it."
"It's nice to be young, isn't it?"
"I think so, too."
"Why do you prefer what you are now, then?"
"Once is enough."
"I haven't been fed up with being young yet."
"After all, you are still eighteen."
"I see," she says. And I think to myself that she is already eighteen.
I called a waitress and ordered another beer. It was raining outside and I could see the Port of Yokohama through the window.
"Hey, what were you thinking about when you were eighteen?"
"Sleeping with girls."
"Other things?"
She chuckled and had a sip of her coffee.
"And you made it?" "Sometimes I did, and sometimes I didn't. More times I didn't succeed, I'm afraid."
"How many girls have you slept with?"
"I don't count them."
"I don't want to count them."
"If I were a man, I would surely count. Must be fun."
I sometimes think it might be fun to be eighteen again, but when I begin to think what it would be the first thing to do if I could be eighteen again, nothing comes to my mind. I can't think of anything I would to do if I could be eighteen again.
Wouldn't it be nice if I were eighteen and could have a date with a thity-two-year-old attractive woman?
"Have you ever thought of being eighteen again?" I ask.
"Well," she smiles and pretends to be thinking and says "No. Perhaps."
"I don't understand," I say "Everybody says it's nice to be young."
"Yes, it is."
"Then why don't you want to be young again?"
"You will see when you get older."
But I'm thirty-two and I have a surplus layer of fat on my stomach if I don't run for a week. I can't go back to be eighteen. This is a matter of course.
After I finish running in the morning I drink a can of vegetable juice and lie down on a sofa and play a record of "Day Tripper" by the Beatles.
"Daaaa-ay Tripper."
When I listen to the song, I feel as if I were sitting on a seat of a train. Electric poles, stations, tunnels, bridges, bulls, horses, chimneys and junk pass by. However far I travel, the sceney outside is the same and not attractive any more. I used to enjoy it, though. The person sitting next to me sometimes changes. I happened to sit next to an eighteen-year-old girl then. I was on the window seat and she was on the aisle seat.
"Shall we change seats?"
"Thanks," she says "You are kind."
It's not that I'm kind. I think to myself smiling wryly. It's only that I'm more accustomed to being bored than you.

Thirty-two-year old
Day Tripper
Tired of counting electric poles

This is one of my miscreated haiku.