Monday, August 30, 2010



"Oh I remember... Listen don't hate me because I can't remember some person immediately. Especially when they look like everybody else, and talk and dress and act like everybody else." Franny made her voice stop. It sounded so caviling and bitchy, and she felt a wave of self-hatred that, quite literally, made her forehead perspire once again. But her voice picked up again, in spite of herself. "I don't mean that there's anything horrible about him or anything like that. It's just for four solid years I've kept seeing Wally Campbell's wherever I go. I know when they're going to be charming, I know when they are going to start telling you some really nasty gossip about some girl who lives in your dorm, I know when they are going to ask me what I did over the summer, I know when they are going to pull up a chair and straddle it backward and start bragging in a terribly quiet voice-- or name dropping in a terribly quiet casual voice. There is an unwritten law that people in a certain social or financial bracket can name-drop as much as they like just as long as they say something terribly disparaging about the person as soon as they've dropped his name- that he's a bastard or a nymphomaniac or he takes dope all the time, something horrible." She broke off again. She was quiet for a moment, turning her ashtray in her fingers and being careful not to look up and see Lane's expression. "I'm sorry," she said. "It isn't just Wally Campbell. I'm just picking on him because you mentioned him. And because he looks like someone who spent the summer in Italy or someplace."
"He was in France last summer, for your information," Lane stated. "I know what you mean," he added quickly, "but you're being so goddamn un--"
"All right," Franny said wearily. "France."

If Lane really understood Franny, he would have nodded instead of being so immediately defensive. Franny wasn't really talking about Wally or even guys like Wally, with their top coats and readying to follow in their Father's footsteps to the Ivies. She was talking about Lane and the fact that he was of their ilk and she wanted to be more than just a proto-wife, whose Sarah Lawrence or Radcliffe degree was nothing more than a stamp for her entry into the same kind of bland, formless life that she sees in the eyes of her classmates and, quite possibly, in her Mother.

This selection reminded me of so much that puts me at odds with 'my people'. I can remember arguing about music and how my tastes were not like that of my peers and how much effort that some people went into explaining why I was 'like that'.

Seems like Franny is going through one of those 'moments of clarity' now.

'Wally Campbell' could be a construct for almost any person or kind of person, a caricature of a type. I know that I am loathe to deal with anymore 'Wally's' and their 'Wally stories'.

Franny is frustrated with a lot of things. One of them is her 'Wally', Lane. She thought that she could confide in him only to her dismay, he is 'one of them'.

*sigh* Reading Salinger. Next is Larsson's and his 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo', for the book club at the library. I thought that this exchange was like too many I have had in my life. Too many.


Aurora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aurora said...

When someone wants to be 'understood' without being specific, what they are saying is that they experct you to read their minds rather than their being accurate with their communication.

Sometimes people 'get' what their partner is saying. That is usally a good relationship. They are looking in the same direction.

Sometimes people never 'get' it. It is often a case of being unwilling to know or unwilling to decribe, so the responsibility can be 50-50.

Wally might have been an example that made sense and pinning her on the location just bitchy of Lane. Yet there is obtuseness on both sides from this short description. She wants to be careless and he wants to be either a put-down artist or precise.

You'd have to hear voice tones and to know both personalities involved to really know the truth here.

She's also a smoker? So she doesn't deal effectively with stress.

Why have these 2 people chocen one another as partners and why do they stay?

Books don't tell you enough in this case - they lead you to what they want you to feel, it seems. Yet that doesn't reflect WHY communications are not working, just that they aren't. Look to the source.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I like Salinger, but I don't love his writing, although I've known many people who do.

Hope all is well.



Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

Ditto what Aurora and SB have said.
Thanks for your supportive words to me on my blog Mark. It helps.

Thomas said...

I can remember trying to get people to listen to Rick James back in The Day, and having no luck at all.

A few years later and they're all rushing out to buy the M.C. Hammer diluted version. Go figure.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I have the "tattoo" book as well, looking forward to reading it. I have lots of travel coming up, so should be able to get that in....

Just went and put it on my trip spot for next week when I head to Sioux Falls.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I'm with you. RICK JAMES WAS THE KING! Damn, I miss his funky bad ass self.




mrs. miss alaineus said...

what did the five fingers say to the face....

*slap* "i'm rick james, bitch!"

i love jd salinger. read nine stories next.

the whole thing with this scene is that they are two people that are together for all the wrong reasons. they really have nothing to say. one of them is catching on to the game, and one isn't.

f. wants l. to see things her way and understand the futility behind the charade they all play because of their social class. he wont and she becomes ever the more frustrated. i also remember having class discussions that she was pregnant when this was going on (she got sick and fell out, the sweating nervousness come to mind)

good news on your new dojo. oh-jo really(as in omaha). sorry to see n is conflicted about it.

be well. thanks for your words the other day. it's been a hell of a week.