Monday, August 21, 2006

I Had a Diary in Second Grade that I was Bored of After Three Days

It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about. And we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves: your notebook will never help me, nor mine you. "So what's new in the whiskey business?" What could that possibly mean to you? To me it means a blonde in a Pucci bathing suit sitting with a couple of fat men by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Another man approaches, and they all regard one another in silence for a while. "So what's new in the whiskey business?" one of the fat men finally says by way of welcome, and the blonde stands up, arches one foot and dips it in the pool, looking all the while at the cabana where Baby Pignatari is talking on the telephone. That is all there is to that, except that several years later I saw the blonde coming out of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York with her California complexion and a voluminous mink coat. In the harsh wind that day she looked old and irrevocably tired to me, and even the skins in the mink coat were not worked the way they were doing them that year, not the way she would have wanted them done, and there is the point of the story. For a while after that I did not like to look in the mirror, and my eyes would skim the newspapers and pick out only the deaths, the premature coronaries, the suicides, and I stopped riding the Lexington Avenue IRT because I noticed for the first time that all the strangers I had seen for years--the man with the seeing-eye dog, the spinster who read classified pages every day, the fat girl who always got off with me at Grand Central--looked older than the once had.
from Joan Didion, "On Keeping a Notebook"
At the Shabbos table this week, I repeated a conversation I had overheard while going down to the 6 train at Grand Central on Thursday. It went something like this, "So I was hanging out with my cousin and his friends, and they're like, from Oklahoma and Canada, right? So we're hanging out and it's like 2am and one of them goes, 'I think I'm going to go take a walk.' But I told him not to. I don't think it's a good idea for someone to take a walk at 2am their first time in the city." And his friend said, "I know--they could get lost or something."
I don't remember who asked this, but someone at the table was curious to know this conversation's significance--why I cared to hear it (I mentioned that the kid started talking while I was putting in my earphones and I waited to turn my iPod on until after the punchline because once I heard "Oklahoma" I knew there was no other way for the conversation to go) and then repeat it. But I didn't have an answer then and I don't have one now. Have a good day.

1 original thoughts out there

Blogger Elster said...

Who knows what causes us to put any significance on a caught snipped of conversation. And who cares? What is important was that for wahtever reason, it was "important" to you.

PS I envy you your summers off from the real world. Enjoy them while you can.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 1:40:00 PM  

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