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2011-11-06 - 6:49 p.m.

dance until the dawn

"one is never puzzled by the unexpected," writes dwight macdonald. now, does this mean one never encounters anything one does not already expect, and thereby avoids the occasion for puzzlement, or does one meet the unexpected and simply fail to be puzzled by it? and in the latter case, is that because one is a dull-witted clod, or because one has learned to ignore a barrage of novelty like so much worthless noise?

overhead, an expanse of neon obviates the sky. everything here is so flat and expensive[1]. i go out for coffee with made-up eyes and a sleeveless sequined top, and i come back with a little sheaf of backstage passes, drink coupons and tickets to the vip lounge. there's an elvis impersonator capering on the sidewalk. if i make a drunk man feel clever, dinner and cocktails will always be free. it becomes heartbreakingly clear, how one could fine-tune the hustle.

"reading dwight macdonald in las vegas" is a title that precludes the need for an essay.

later, i make plans to meet an old friend from yale. with every year that goes by, the sweet, vaguely-goth zinefag[2] whom i shyly approached to talk about science looks more and more like a middle-aged german man. he orders us a big, double-handled mug of hot chocolate with coconut and whipped cream and little flecks of tropical fruit, and i tell him, "this is good - so baroquely good, i am waiting for the busby berkeley choreographed dance number complete with fountains and showgirls and synchronized swimming."

water cannons erupt in front of the bellagio, and my friend's eyes crinkle up at the corners.

* * *

reading: dwight macdonald.
listening to: monochrome set, the etcetera stroll.
working on: math problems.
in the garden: there's been a frost back home.

[1] a brilliant misreading by the perennially-incisive sarah, who used to write at pettyquarrel.
[2] remember back when zinefags were a thing? when zines gave way to online journals, i felt like the voices i had come to love and respect were being sunk into a lake of noise. i feel the same way now, about public diaries, and i will probably feel the same way about other things in the future.

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