I’m frozen. It isn’t just the cold of this granite tabletop under my forearms. See, I wrote my past posts at this restaurant called Inn Season. The problem is, I’m not going to make it there today to write this post. So like Hal, I find myself standing on one foot, not quite sure how to proceed.
What did you think of that conversation between Hal and Orin? Hal is trying to maintain his freshly clipped toenail launches into the bathroom garbage can while Orin, “after four years 216 days” of avoiding all things re: his father’s suicide, is finally asking “who it was who found him? His—who found him at the oven?”
The wording of that last sentence gets me every time, in the way that I think about it for at least a day and night, and then I completely totally forget it—until my next read of Infinite Jest.
The sentence turns an oven into an altar. “His—who found him at the oven?”
Imagining Incandenza standing at an altar, complete with a red ribbon bottle, sets a tone that reveals the ritualistic aspects that he borrows from his life to stage his death.
When I am standing at my microwave altar, the tone is a little more relaxed, but is still ritualistic. I tend to look out a window that is just to the right of me. And somehow, I think so far into the distance (probably more like Mario than Incandenza himself) for (38) minus (6) seconds. I usually look back at the microwave when it reads (6) seconds, and then I hit stop at (2) or even (1) second if I feel I am able to risk the possibility of hearing the awful succession of fast beeps that occur when the microwave timer hits (0).
And then, much like reading Infinite Jest, I do it again. I press in another (38) seconds on the microwave timer. Sometimes I don’t even check to see if the food is hot. Mainly because I do this so often that I know the food isn’t hot. And I like the food at my microwave altar to be really hot.
If you are at all an anxious prone person, or enjoy reading about the anxious prone people in Infinite Jest, then I just know you know where I am coming from.
“Something smells delicious—,” Want some pizza?
The thing about people with sick senses of humor is that they have probably been around the block and tend to be able to digest almost anything. If you have made it this far, you are either one of those people or you’ve spent some real time around one of those people. Or your parents did.
For some, it is almost easy to answer “yes” to all of the above. For Hal, this type of reality makes going to the library pretty damn relieving and at times urgent. You follow?
Keep doing the rituals that keep you from feeling too crazy, no matter how crazy they seem. And, see you next week!