Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Hell Is Other People." NO EXIT

This week I'm working as a consultant for a Chicago jeweler.  I've been buying estate jewelry in Cleveland, Ohio.  There are three of us working with families who are selling family treasures, and dad's military souvenirs.  We work in small hotel meeting rooms as we travel from suburb to suburb.  Think, "Pawn Stars," meets, "American Pickers."


Each room has had a door with the sign, "No Exit."  I laughed as it reminds me of the 1944 existentialist French play by Jean Paul Sartre by the same name.  The play has been performed in English under the titles, "No Way Out," and "Dead End."  


The play is the source of one of Sartre's most famous quotations, "Hell is other people."  It's a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room for eternity.  In other words, "certain people can be the most effective form of hell."  You know where I'm going with this.


The fellas that I'm working with are the best in their field.  They're smart.  They're fun.  One week with them is all I can take. I'm grateful that we get along, but I'm grateful that this isn't for eternity.  If you work with someone every day, be grateful that you can go home at night and not see them again 'til the dawn.  


Blago has three cell mates.  No break for him.  They're together all day, all night, and somewhere in the middle.  There's no exit, no way out.