Indecision

Yesterday, smouldering from three hours of sleep and a bottle and a half of cheap wine, I very deliberately did nothing in small chunks, much like Hugh Grant in About a Boy. I woke up much too early for my friend, who is crashing on the couch, to be awake — it was five in the morning and I awoke parched. I had a breakfast of a Tiger’s Milk bar (introduced to them when I was little, going to a spa with my parents, the bark taste of carob) and some regular cow’s milk, not in bar form. Over the course of the day I kept making small amounts of progress in Gia, which was sort of embarrassing and not worth it, except for the moments when Angelina Jolie projects star power. There’s a scene in the beginning where she tells a fellow to light her cigarette. There’s a scene where she carves her name, with a switchblade, into a reception desk. There’s a scene where she’s naked in the middle of her apartment complex, broad daylight. But you have to ask whether that justified the long slide into smoking aluminum foil and the dirty needle. The AIDS. The acne that, we want to tearfully tell her, isn’t acne, but rather splotches of early death. At the same time I finished Tom Robbins’ Another Roadside Attraction. I’d forgotten that his darling hippie, Amanda, the book’s heroine, is actually supposed to be a replacement for Jesus. Robbins actually writes “if AMANDA is alive and JESUS is dead…” I wonder what book I read when I was fifteen. I think at that time the point of the book was good jokes and weird adult things like beatnik love and bipolar jazz. I started a book called Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel. It’s new, it’s hip, it’s got enough compassion to end after a mere 240 pages. (By the way, I feel absolutely terrible about the poppy culture and high-school-essay linearity of this entry and hereby resolve to make all future entries somewhat gnarled and simultaneously trivial. Actually it’s not too late. For dinner I had two crispy tacos. They are made up in the usual fashion but then deep-fried like doughnuts. Tender steak in the middle, the succulent reason why I’m not veg. I had only planned on one taco, but the quality of the deep fry, with just a little warm oil making the shell radiant, was too much to resist. Spooned on salsa and ate it sideways, tilting it towards me, like a boa eating a warthog.) Kunkel’s book is powered by an antidepressant he made up that helps twentysomethings be decisive. It will be another eighteen years until I turn twenty, but nonetheless I have to believe this is the right made-up drug for my particular condition. I eventually made it through Gia. I noted certain symbolic features it contains. I read forty pages of Kunkel. I disagreed mildly with a friend about the level of passion in a little symphonic poem about a cave by Mendelssohn and insisted that clarinets make a “sugary” sound. But, as Houellebecq says in his version of Indecision (entitled “Whatever,” of course), the goal of life was missed.

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