Despite all of my best efforts to remain sedentary, I did have one item of business to attend to this week. My old clunker of a car has been long overdue for a smogging and a registering. According to the little sticker on the car, it's been expired since July. Just last week, the parking patrol, which rarely if ever hovers around these back neighborhoods, must have been extremely bored or headed in the direction of the coffee shop and spotted my little violation, leaving me a nice envelope stuffed with a twenty-five buck ticket. It was probably just the wake-up call that I needed.
So Thursday, I drove a few blocks to the smog-only-as-required-by-law shop. Let me back up and add that part of the reason for my procrastination was my fear that the car would not pass smog, especially considering the draconian anti-pollution standards in this state. So I sat and watched as the mechanic poked and prodded and did everything but ask the car to grab its ankles and cough. I watched for any sign of exhaust, biting fingernails while the computer analyzed my car's future.
"Looks good," the mechanic said. I wanted to hug him. I don't have money to spare on auto repairs right now and really feared a return to the number two bus was imminent. Spared another two years.
Passing the smog meant a trip to the DMV, sans appointment, to get the little sticker. Need I say more?
Friday was the peak of the neck pain. Ibuprofen on an empty stomach is not good for the system. Cures what ails you, but the waves get a little choppy.
So what does all of this have to do with Infinite Jest. Little of nothing other than to say that the vacation is coming to a close and with a weekend full of air conditioner returning, sunset viewing, a Chloë Sevigny blow job (heh!), and whatever else I can do to keep from reading the novel, I've come to the conclusion that I won't be finishing this book anytime soon. Not giving up yet, but...
Day four totals: 69 pages of text; 33 endnotes
Day five totals: 99 pages of text; 49 endnotes
At some point this weekend, I'll be opening the book to page 548.
To this point, my favorite parts of the book all center around life at the Ennet House, a drug and alcohol rehab center. In this passage, Don Gately, one of the central characters in the novel, a recovering hoodlum, alcoholic, and drug addict reflects on the process of recovery:
--and then you're in serious trouble, very serious trouble, and you know it, finally, deadly serious trouble, because this Substance you thought was your one true friend, that you gave up all for, gladly, that for so long gave you relief from the pain of the Losses your love of that relief caused, your mother and lover and god and compadre, has finally removed its smiley-face mask to reveal centerless eyes and a ravening maw, and canines down to here, it's the Face In The Floor, the grinning root-white face of your worst nightmares, and the face is your own face in the mirror, now, it's you, the Substance has devoured or replaced and become you, and the puke-, drool- and Substance-crusted T-shirt you've both worn for weeks now gets torn off and you stand there looking and in the root-white chest where your heart (given away to It) should be beating, in its exposed chest's center and center-less eyes is just a lightless hole, more teeth, and a beckoning taloned hand dangling something irresistible, and now you see you've been had, screwed royal, stripped and fucked and tossed to the side like some stuffed toy to lie for all time in the posture you land in. You see now that it's your enemy and your worst personal nightmare and the trouble It's gotten you into is undeniable and you still can't stop. Doing the Substance now is like attending Black Mass but you still can't stop, even though the Substance no longer gets you high. You are, as they say, Finished. You cannot get drunk and you cannot get sober; you cannot get high and you cannot get straight. You are behind bars; you are in a cage and can see only bars in every direction. You are in the kind of a hell of a mess that either ends lives or turns them around....