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If Kafka was a Woman
Kafka - Give it Up!

If Franz Kafka was a woman the absurdities of life and the meaning he found in them would all be in another’s day work.   Rather than challenging the insanity of life and overlaying a dark and dogmatic interpretation, we women naturally thread the needle and baste the various insanities of life into one crazy quilt of possibility. 

How many times have you opened your eyes and wished you were a cockroach stranded on your back, unable to turn over and be relieved from making the lunches, signing the homework sheets, providing the class cupcakes on a moment’s notice, all the while still simultaneously sending financial reports back to the office via your iphone or blackberry?  Would we die a sad, slow death?  No, we would catch up on our sleep, repurpose the kids’ glue stick left on the bedstand to right ourselves, and head on into the hair salon for a much needed makeover.

Now, I wonder if Kafka would ever ponder why all the people who work in the upscale hair salons have names like Coco, Tan (rhymes with Dawn), or Ash-Lee (just call me Ash).  I just got the third letter this year telling me that Tan has moved on and feel free to contact any of the following “stylists” to schedule my next appointment:  Tailee, Marco, Sharee, or Lance.  When I’m at the salon, I peek at the license displayed at their station to see if that indeed is their real name.  And yes, remarkably it always is.  I haven’t seen any good old-fashioned names at the salon – what do the Mary Elizabeths, Kathleens, Michaels, and Larrys end up doing? What about the Sylvias, Fyodors, Antons, and Franzs -- do they all become brooding writers? So mothers, beware, when you name your children – you may be chosing their destiny. 

Am I the only one to wonder what Kafka would think about Twitter? He was into the short, pithy, writing form.  Could he send a 140 character existential tweet that would rock the world in the same manner as his writing did?  His manuscripts could be summarized as follows:

“Sales suck. Flat on my back w/spindly legs. Wake me up when it’s over.” - Metamorphosis

"I long for lunch, but don’t feed me, it’s art.”- The Hunger Artist

“Only in Amerika could you live the life of Oklahoma!”  - In Amerika

If Kafka was a woman, he would learn that longing isn’t a destiny it’s a process, a process that requires experimentation, discovery, and reprieve.  That reprieve is found when you learn to laugh at those things that isolate us or cause us pain. So, I say get out and give Kafka a little kick in the pants.  Turn those flailing beetles over so that they can scuttle back to their homes.  Feed the artists, even though they think starvation makes them stronger.  And belt out a loud and tuneful rendition of “Oklahoma!” or even better “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” as you start your day.  I bet you’ll feel a lot better than Kafka ever did.

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You make some great points here. Have you read "Freakonomics"? There's a whole section about how a person's name really can determine their place in life, literally helping or hindering a person.

I also like what you said about how we as women would tackle these existential challenges differently than a man would. It's so very true. Finding the balance between self and family, our needs and others', negotiating between all our various obligations while making breakfast and working. Great post!