[Back] [Next]
Forty-Fourth Sitting

Hmmm. No. I mean... No. I won't tell you where I am or what day it is. For all you know, I don't even know. I may be dead. No. No more of that talk. My mother told me I'm not allowed to die. "The hardest thing for a parent is to bury a child," She said. So no more selfish toying with that idea. No. And I had better put new windshield wiper blades on my car. This is what prompted the quoted utterance, which came after the fact, a few hours after she had a hissy fit at me for resisting her "suggestion" to stop writing Book (or whatever other definitionally-unimportant thing I might be doing) and go get new wiper blades right now... Because I could crash, you know, if I was caught in a rainstorm and my wipers sucked (which they do), and if I didn't do it right then it wouldn't get done. But I resist such "suggestions" categorically, as my sense of my own power and autonomy is shaky enough without military treatment... Which is what spelled the end of Boy Scouts for me after only a few months (during sixth grade, of course). The major purpose of this group for me was to provide social support for pyromaniac activities, and being turned para-military doesn't help this. So I can't trust authority (i.e. those with power over me); I have to see a reason myself; I have to take the initiative myself, to adopt the project as my own. You know... just a habit from household politics, like how much you talk at the dinner table and about what... There's no better, no worse in these issues, right? ...Though I guess some patterns are healthier than others. Still... it's nothing you can hold against someone, right?


It had been a great morning. You know... you were there: the end of sitting twenty-seven... when I recorded my song for her, when I told her in a lengthy outro that I loved her, when I sang it out loud, long, and many times. Yes, still cowardly, or shall I say non-confrontational, much like having Her read about it in here, especially since she was directed not to listen to the tape until I was gone. But I don't want to confuse her, do I, to make Her have to look me in the eye and face straight into the conflict churning within her. No, much better just to inject these things into her equation by remote, to give her a clear picture of the various paths and let her orient herself by the calm light of reflection. How many conflicting images were in that sentence? No. No more self-directed stylistic comments. I trust you.

So I was happy that day, two days before going back, because I loved her. Given this, I think it's safe to say that there's no way I would have consciously done anything to hurt her. And things were going very well, as you'll see very clearly to the extent that I further violate our privacy. I wrote in the afternoon, then met her for dinner at 5:00. We had brought the cookies we'd made together the night before, the muffins we sort of made together (I watched) the night before that, and the last of the lasagna we'd made together the night before that. She had eaten the lasagna at work, though, and I had sort of smashed the cookies, leaving the items whose only purpose was to use up rotting fruit. I forked over the appallingly-high $1.25 Alaska price for two Hostess(TM) cupcakes and tried stuffing Us with sugar enough to a) in my case, attack this book with the full force of my final available few hours for working on it, and b) in hers, to recover from what had so far been a draining day enough to get through her evening class, i.e. drawing.

Oh my God, I am fairly sure Merc is right now trying to chew off her leg! False alarm. I guess I gave away where I'm writing from. No. Ignore the present. Ignore the staginess of the preceding remark, the fumbling attempts to be calculating, to construct an actual literary picture, in this case an attempt to show myself what? Receding from the reader? Concealing the self to end the book as it began? Damn it, I don't know, hon. I need to advance things between us, but it's hard, because you just sit there and don't give me any feedback... not that I'm pressuring you to... you do what you have to do, but you've got to know that I have needs too, and though I'd like to see you entertained... I mean, listen... I just can't tell you everything any more; it's just the way the plot is going... I mean I have a life outside this too, now. And before all that long, this book is going to end, so I've got to prepare for that, so as to ease the separation. Look, we'll talk about this later. I think I was in the middle of some psychoanalysis.

...So we were about to split up to write and draw when she pulled out this piece of paper and said, "Would you get this book out of the library for me?" Now she had just fifteen minutes before told me what a screwed-up, confusing library system they had here, how it had taken her half an hour to get at this video she needed the day before... And I was most revved to write. And so I was hesitant, and said we'd get it together after her class, or alternatively demanded a reason why it might be necessary or beneficial to anyone were I to take over the task at that point.

She was annoyed; I had hit a nerve; I had demonstrated some horrible vice that cut against everything she had been brought up to believe in, every rule of household politics that she now expected compliance with from the world. I was unhelpful and inattentive... no, make that insensitive. I, of course, didn't get this information at the time; it's irrational enough that I had to drag it out of her later that night when she was noticeably holding something against me, i.e. not talking to me. And of course after that, after we talked good and long, and she fumed a while as I laughed in glee about how overwhelmingly and wonderfully her she was being, she at least stopped being mad at me. But I did have enough of a clue at the time to immediately recant my hesitation and ticklingly try to grab the paper from her. But too late: another bad seed injected that could be usually ignored and generally understood into remission, but would take years to completely dispel.

Whether through misunderstanding or spite, she failed to come get me when she was done with class, but we did coincidentally meet an hour or so later at the exact half-way point between school and home as I walked back on my own and she came forth to find me. Coincidentally, as always.

What is the point? What does any of this have to do with the plot, or the theme? What am I getting at, now that I have lost my symbols, now that I have no stated rallying point like SEX or DEATH? More pewlin' about varying contexts of teleology or something? How the whole bit about independent subjectivities being oblivious to each other demonstrated page after page in such excruciating detail is more screwed up than even I let on? How, on the one hand, we've all been stuffed so full of crud from so many directions that there's always more handy to bring up new and more stupid barriers between people, but on the other hand, the crud flows so damn deep that it may just (if you're a Jungian anyway) unite us all? And just like Mister Jung says that religions could reach mutual understanding by seeing all the parallelisms, and hence ahistorical connections, in their mythologies, in the visions of their prophets, in the underlying psyche their doctrines are trying to express, well... we individuals have to dig deep and convert crud to tripe if we're ever going to be able to stand each other at all the key moments that are sure to come up. Is that what I'm getting at? No. Well, maybe. After all, I am soooo clever, surely I will transcend all your expectations and do, well, the most clever thing. And oooo it's a secret from you, eh? And I won't tell because you are smaller than me, Mr. Book, Mr. pages showin' off your insides to just anybody that wants. Ha. Phooey on you. I am the Wise One. I am the teacher. I AM HERR PROFESSOR. And what I profess is what you need, my sweet, `cause I'm the Only One Here.

[Back] [Next]

© 1993 Mark A. Linsenmayer [ Contents ]