From Diaries 1910-1923
Franz Kafka, Diaries 1910-1923
“12 November. Sunday. Yesterday lecture by Richepin: ‘La Légende de Napoléon’ in the Rudlophinum. Pretty empty. As though on sudden inspiration to test the manners of the lecturer, a large piano is standing in the way between the small entrance door and the lecturer’s table. The lecturer enters, he wants, with his eyes on the audience, to reach his table by the shortest route, therefore comes close to the piano, is started, steps back and walks around it softly without looking at the audience again. In the enthusiasm at the end of his speech and in the loud applause, he naturally forgot the piano, as it did not call attention to itself during the lecture. With his hands on his chest, he wants to turn his back on the audience as late as possible, therefore takes several elegant steps to the side, naturally bumps gently into the piano and, on tiptoe, must arch his back a little before he gets into the clear again. At least that is the way Richepin did it.”
In this calculated description of one of the more stupid and trifling moments of life, you can totally feel the weirdness/awkwardness that the piano caused this Richepin guy; I also love the minor emphasis of final statement, which doesn’t seem like an denigration of Richepin’s character at all, as well as how the description is funny but doesn’t make me laugh.