Today marks the first day of the actual vacation, a week-long celebration of my slothfulness. It's the first vacation in many years that won't involve some sort of travel, so I'm free to enjoy the concavity of my couch. As I mentioned last week, the only work that will be done this week--besides the occasional blog post--will be my attempt to make it all the way through Infinite Jest. Eager to get this underway, I've put Oblivion aside for now and have hefted the tome.
Day one resulted in 109 pages and 46 endnotes read.
While there is plenty in this first part of the novel to write about and discuss, including the feral hamsters passage that had me doubled over yet again, my nod to a favorite goes to the description of Orin's hatred of roaches:
Roaches gave him the howling fantoids. The parishes around N.O. had been having a spate or outbreak of a certain Latin-origin breed of sinister tropical flying roaches, that were small and timid but could fucking fly, and that kept being found swarming on New Orleans infants, at night, in their cribs, especially infants in like tenements or squalor, and that reportedly fed on the mucus in the babies' eyes, some special sort of optical-mucus--the stuff of fucking nightmares, mobile flying roaches that wanted to get at your eyes, as an infant--and were reportedly blinding them; parents'd come in in the ghastly A.M.-tenement light and find their infants blind, like a dozen blinded infants that last summer...
Interestingly enough, when I'm asked what New Orleans is like, a description of the flying roaches the size of my Hyundai usually falls somewhere between mosquitoes that could possibly carry one to Baton Rouge for a small fare of blood and the smell of the French Quarter at around midnight after a humid summer day and night of conventioneers and assorted tourists figuring out just how many hurricanes it takes to feel blown away.
Oh, but I do love that city.
More Infinite Jest-ness to follow.