Line 1 train withdraws from service

“It’s something I wouldn’t have anyway, because I couldn’t have it. I approached them, in this way at least, dreaming of them, risking the realization that life is not just a dream.”

(Octaviane Baler,

The day I emptied my closet from my old job, I felt like I was visiting the morgue. I was a reporter, editor, and occasional presenter for 16 years at TVR, and it was my first and only service before. I had decided to divorce from television by mutual agreement with me, citing a growing mismatch in personality. We weren’t us at all from the start, but we weren’t at all. The resignation paper was quickly signed, and now I had the task of sorting and archiving hundreds of cassettes, DVDs, and discs with presentations and materials.

I spent the weekend kneeling among the boxes, in an empty editing room, my whole life in Bucharest deteriorating before my eyes, as if I were on a floating playground. I got to know each report by title, and remembered the faces of the people I met, my teammates, what went well, and what didn’t. In the end, I put a tape from April 2004 on top of it that I never deleted. I was 24 and I was shooting at a club, late at night, a concert in memory of Kurt Cobain with the most popular alternative rock band of the moment. I used to watch it sometimes, when I was alone in the office and looking for the strength to move on. They all came to the archive, and with that I finally buried the illusion of working in television.

When there is a conflict between what we believe and what we do, and when the reality of the world around us is the enemy of our beliefs, we feel an unease that is hard to bear by human nature, eager for consistency. We try to reduce the state of stress in various ways, usually irrational, we modify our behaviors or attitudes so that nothing is disturbed. We find detailed explanations for each selection. Psychologists call this process cognitive dissonance. Our minds strive hard and choose those aspects that will support our point of view all the way to the whiteboards. We can also call it self-deception.

Twenty years ago, I had an idea of ​​what my television career should look like. Time passed and reality became more and more a dream, but the investment of time and effort made it impossible for me to see that it was not the right place for me. This daily activity was, with very few exceptions, one that displeased me. I was trying to convince myself that this was the way, that it was just a harder time, and that I would make fun of all the work until then if I gave up. My reasoning had become insensitive to the way the real picture looked, and the constant effort was to live up to an illusion. I was afraid to disappear with her. I danced for years on the fine line between deception and hope, and this movement became my form of survival.

Octavian Palerre wrote that failures are more useful than successes. They proved to us, in a way, that on the level of desires we were better than we actually were. That our illusions were not modest, but some of them are beyond our power. Time passed quickly for me and became precious. The facts quickly completed in the mind’s roster were so far removed from what was in the soul that the mind finally prevailed: I’d never become a TV star, which you see in the news every night or on city signs. Writing a book about success in life or talking to young people about how to toughen your teeth is temporary and everything is arranged admirably, eventually. It turns out to me that this cruel period of time is life to me, and things, far from being appropriate, have had a dizzying breakdown, as much as an illusion.

I collected in a huge box the files containing the transcripts of the interviews, and dozens of handwritten pages, in small pieces, and brought them home like a jar. All my youth has been there, and the thought that it might end up in the trash terrified me. As we rejoice to see our childhood friends again, as proof that we, our ex, do indeed exist, we feel the need to keep tangible evidence of our fantasies as well. Chests full of anything that we probably won’t open again.

The fantasies we have are like trains at a train station, some running late, others rushing away, and others simply stopping forever on a platform. When we are young, we want so much to get to our destination that we no longer pay attention to the track, how fast the train is moving, or the people on it. We hold on tight, with all our might, and this becomes constant in our lives.

When we look at cognitive dissonance and identify the exact mechanisms of the mind, we can intervene. We make better decisions, we are more interested in what really works for us. Permanent reconfiguration of the path can be an antidote to illusion.

It’s been nearly two decades since then, but I can still remember the EMIL singer playing all the apologies to a wired mic. Sitting under the podium of a Bucharest nightclub, I was wearing a black T-shirt with blue sleeves, I had lost my photographer somewhere in public and felt like I had just boarded a new train, and an amazing journey was just the beginning.

Photo: flickr

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