Food for Thought-Meeting Einstein at the Manjez (The Fourth Letter)


27 April 1957
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

The time between tea and slivovitz*

Dearest Friend, Mentor, and Fellow Collector of Sounds,

Was breakfast not a grand meal? The Manjez was an excellent choice as always. The splendid eggs from the Dalmatian* birds made up for the poor service we received from the man in the rumpled waistcoat. I do believe we knew him. He was tall, with hair, two eyes, possessed ten fingers, and held a wistful gaze always toward the north northeast. I fear his ambivalence in the rapid return to our table with water might be accounted for his membership in one of the Novi Beograd Cricket Clubs*.

I thought much, last evening, about the trees along the road in the place. You are right. The man gave us clear directions where to turn when we were lost. The trees surrounded most things where places and buildings were not. If there were not buildings, there were trees. By the buildings, there were shrubs. We seemed to be in a forest where the occasional seed of concrete grew, like hope, from unseen places. Was this not where we stood? My fear is this. Much like light traveling through space and time*, perhaps sound makes the same journey. Did the wood pecker sing on an earlier day and we simply encounter the sound in the instant we arrived to consume our meal? Do the pecks of the Picus Viridis travel at the speed of light? Did Professor Einstein consider this? Oh, we have much to consider.

Until tomorrow, we think on these things.

Yours truly,


*the time between tea and slivovitz late afternoon when one switches from tea to drinking a traditional plum brandy
*The Manjez is a historic restaurant and hotel in downtown Belgrade
*Dalmatian chickens lay wonderful eggs
*In the late 1950’s there was an upswing in cricket collection and identification. Clubs of cricket collectors sprang up across Belgrade identifying crickets; some based on sounds while others relied on Genus and Species. Records indicate the Novi Beograd club were of the anti-sound/pro-Genus and Species faction
*space and time refers to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity E = mc2