On sale in Aisle 7.
The mystery is that I no longer know where I am when I go to the supermarket in Belgrade. Today, for example, I started out list-in-handed on a journey to IDEA in New Belgrade. I had received in the post a special Happy Birthday coupon for a 10% discount (on almost everything except what I wanted to buy I found in the fine print).
The branding of Serbia has been going through a very long series of false starts and misfires for as long as I have known about it. I was involved in an early post-transition project in 2004 and 2005, but the branding initiative was ultimately shelved because no one could address the elephant in the conference room:
What is Serbia's brand?
Yesterday I woke up knowing that I would face the mountainous terrain of Serbian bureaucracy in order to finish the establishment of my branding agency. It is mountainous, full of crags, hairpin turns, and impasses due to rock slides, and while
Case Study: Same-sex Marriage. It is not acceptable anymore to merely accept this and generally agree with it. The Socially Acceptable Model is to "celebrate" it. We must loudly proclaim our most underscored, emphatic, and rainbow-painted glee. We must show Vindication and Exaltation. Otherwise, we might be mistaken for a Scalia-style dissenter.
And God forbid we actually do dissent...
We needed movers. We called a few. We agreed a deal with one. He came, he forgot the deal, and he began threatening to "beat" us when we insisted. He said that he had beaten his mother that very morning. He held the thing we had to move hostage. He added, just for information, that he was a "woman-hater."
"Oh, it says Architecture, but really it's not."
"I can see that. But people will not look for it here."
"This is Biography, Journals, and Autobiography."
"But it says Architecture."
"It says that, but it is not."
There are people who are born with an innate sense of orientation. These people always know which way is True North, how to get from here to there without circumnavigating the globe and discovering the West Indies, and do not refer to "right" as the "other left."
What is True North anyway? Is there a Fake North?
I got a message on Viber 27 seconds ago. When do I respond? Immediately? What is the etiquette? Is there any etiquette?
People who have an active and useful memory of the 20th Century (like me for example) used to send letters to each other, a process by which weeks and months could pass in between missives. When we got email and could send a letter instantly without relying on the post office, we started to think about "response times". One company I worked for mandated a maximum 48-hour response time for emails. This was soon sliced in two and 24 hours became the etiquette. After that, you were being lazy. Or rude. Or both.
None of the principle actors have arrived yet on the set, nor has the director - citing some unease about getting paid for half of it in 20 years - but the producers (Sheik Ali Xander & Associates) have so far put on a spectacle worthy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
Ah! Ok, it's the Easter season after all. Easter being all about resurrection, I was not overly surprised to see him (Him?) walking by the window of the café where I had established myself on this Tuesday morning. In fact he was not walking at all. It was a portrait.