September 1st, 2019

huckabees

Labor Day Sunday

The cats and I are hunkered down in the cat room while I wait and hope Chirper (today's nickname) will pee and I will get the latest info on his abilities in that regard.  I went ahead and opened the window to the lazy rain on the sea of green out back. It's peaceful while we wait, with a small thread of the underlying tension running low, like creatures in that 6-inch floor of undergrowth brush, barely noticed consciously, if at all.


It's felt strange, as it has to me only since I became a Michigander, to start putting long pants on my legs again, now that the heat is dying away. Nothing like this northerly swatch of the country to make me appreciate summer, and glory in it with exposed skin for long stretches.


This weekend I've been reading Gatsby. It's been many years. It's good to be reading it as the me of now. Sweet, and harsh.  I liked the opening so much when I was younger that I memorized it, in all its other-guy's-moccasins glory. But this time I was struck much more by the line a little later, when Nick tells us, after musing on the habits and types of experiences the resulting attitudinal stance had led him to, what now feels like the driving impetus of the narrative: "And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes, but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on."

I may've laughed out loud at that bit, when it slapped me in the face this time. Me too, Nick, I wanted to say.  Me too, I hope.

Handily enough, I routinely forget plots. I forget them so thoroughly that I can re-read even the P. D. James mysteries I like so well with no idea of who done it (just maybe a vague recollection that, like, something in the boat is important). This is true for Gatsby & co. too. I can still tell you that there's symbolic significance to the green light at the end of Daisy's dock, that having been part of an essay of mine from the early days of practicing formulaic rhetoric, but I don't remember what happens, and had forgotten a lot of characters. Funny how it can be a gift, in yet another way, to forget; to have forgotten; to be able to forget.