22 Mar 2012
I have heard the voice of evil, and it is the small town morning radio shows in central Mississippi. Yesterday, driving back from Hattiesburg, I heard a number of disturbingly bad radio people yukking it up, but two (separate!) ones back to back really got me: on one, the guy was making a joke about how lesbians don’t like to wear dresses (? I didn’t stay around to understand the joke) and on the other, someone was talking about Chinese food and the other guy said “ah so” and THEN THERE WAS A GONG SOUND EFFECT. I just — it made me want to be a total research emporiumist about the whole thing and find data on the demographics of the population, and then…well, there would be nothing TO do besides go “and see, 2.3% of that county is Asian!” or something. But anyway, if I live in Mississippi and I’M surprised at how dumb people are, geez, there is no hope for us.
I went to Garland last week for a whirlwind 15 hours in order to collect my child, who was hanging out with my mom for spring break, and I wasn’t there long enough to write an elegy for the town and its changes since I last lived there 20 (!) years ago, but I did see these two businesses near each other on Shiloh Road, and I thought YES, OF COURSE:
1. Decent Cleaners
2. Ok Food Mart
My mom took Spike to the library for story time while he was there, and I was strangely moved by the fact that my little boy was hanging out in the same library I used to go to. I remember so vividly spending time there, especially after my parents divorced; my dad would drop me off on his way to run errands and pick me up a couple of hours later. There were bean bags to read in and a couple of hamsters on top of a file cabinet. It’s probably a reflection of their poor weeding and selection policies that I read mostly crusty books from the 50s as a kid, but it’s also possible that I was just a weirdo and chose those books on purpose. When it was time for him to come back, I would sit on the steps outside and wait, and usually finish one of the books in my pile.
Oh hey, I finally read Lolita! It’s been on my list for awhile and I’ve never made it past page 40-ish or so. But this time I remained strong, and I’m glad I did; getting to the end lets you realize that Humbert is a lying nutbag and that all the gross stuff you’ve just read about how Dolly was a willing participant (yeah, at 12, but seriously, Humbert is so smooth you believe him for awhile!) was hooey, and then you feel much better. This is not a spoiler, as this book was published in 1955. In related news, today in a chat, gorjus referred to the book as “Lo-Town Rockers” and when I didn’t immediately pick up on the fact that that was supposed to be Lolita, he called me a goon. But anyway: Lolita is gross, yet perhaps the most gorgeously written book I’ve ever read. (I would have to reread One Hundred Years of Solitude to say for sure.)
I’ve just started Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. I didn’t expect to like it but WHOA right away it’s very compelling. Oh, and last night I read the Alice Munro story “Dimensions” from her Too Much Happiness collection, and it was just so painful and lovely I wanted you to know about it.
In related news, Spike’s favorite book right now is The Gruffalo.