Week Eight – Pages 503 – 580 (endnotes 209-240)
Before we get into the horror that is Randy Lenz, we meet up with Roy Tony once more, wait out the repercussions of Eschaton in the HrH’s vey blue waiting room, the morning sun is about to rise on Marathe and Steeply, Pemulis has some very important info about Avril, Joelle and Don have a hard time talking with each other, and Orin is seduced by a hand model.
November 9 – NA Beginner’s meeting with Ken Erdedy, Kate Gompert and Roy Tony
Our first introductions to the pains of addiction came from Ken and Kate and their struggles with pot. 500 pages later, we are briefly brought back through the NA meeting, where Ken notes that the feeling of anhedonia, while not mentioned outright, “seemed to hang fog-like just over the room’s heads” (p. 504). Ken makes a critical error trying to avoid a hug from Roy Tony (a serious badass if you will recall from Clenette’s tale of Wardine and Wardine’s momma and Roy Tony p. 37).
November 10 – Hal, Pemulis, Kittenplan, Axford wait outside CT’s office, while Avril “diddle-checks” the girls
What to make of the parallels between the Hal sitting in the waiting room outside Tavis’ office, with it’s deep blue pile rug, and Pemulis’ “rodential squeaking” of his chair (p. 509), and the blue rug of JOI’s father’s bedroom and the “rodential squeaking” of the bedframe from last week’s section? Also, Clenette has been in CTs office the entire time?
CT, an “odd and delicate specimen” (p. 517) has a “pathological openness of manner” (p. 519) and Avril seems to be a master manipulator, in a way only a mother truly can be. (We get a very chilly analysis of Avril from Orin in endnote 234.)
So many instances of the ridiculous presented as the mundane here: Otis Lord still with monitor affixed, eye holes cut out of the monitor’s base, the story of the multi-eyed, yet blind kid with “cranium-issues” who had to wheel an IV cart with a metal brace for his head around on the court, Lateral Alice Moore (I enjoyed how long DFW dropped references to LAM before finally letting us in on the reason behind the nickname).
Marathe and Steeply
I’ve mentioned this before, but damn these scenes really start to drag me down. If you compiled the entirety of their conversation together, it would read as so repetitive, cyclical, and heavy handed. Yes, the “Oriental myth” and Medusa/Odalisque again brings home the idea that humans will freely choose deadly temptation. We do learn that Marathe is by all accounts a quadruple agent, or perhaps a rogue agent, as he has chosen his wife over the cause. I’d be curious to hear others’ opinions on these conversations on the desert ledge.
November 11 – Don and Joelle have a stilted conversation
Don relates a story from his days Out There, and tries to get Joelle to talk about the veil. I was really bothered by how difficult it was for them to speak to each other. I really wanted them to be able to connect. Joelle’s movement from plain, relatable language to her academic tone when talking about UHID becomes a sore point for Don, which then devolves into an argument. When JvD finally caves to Don’s repeated question about what exactly is wrong with her, she says she is ‘deformed with beauty.’
November 9 – Pemulis catches Avril and John Wayne together
Beyond the great visual of Avril in splits and John Wayne in a jock strap and football pads, we now know that Pemulis has this information locked and loaded when he enters CT’s office the next day.
Goddamn Randy Lenz
How do we talk about someone like Randy Lenz? DFW provides so much insight into his psyche, yet I was still left entirely emotionally unconnected to him. He is such a detestable person, mostly to me because of his sense of entitlement, his ‘specialness’ and as his conversation with Green shows, he is completely disconnected from reality. And of course, his abuse of animals is really really disturbing. We are given so much time with Lenz that I wanted to shower afterwards. Also in this section, the comedic/tragic death of Green’s mother and the bizarre situation of his father’s irregular leg lengths and his descent into murderous despair.
Orin doesn’t seem safe at all
‘Helen’ is gone, after the interview turns a bit sour, and Orin’s wheelchair ‘fans’ are back, as well as a stunning hand model, who seems to know exactly how to woo him, and whose accent is suspiciously similar to the “legless surveyor”(p. 575)
Adrienne – here’s all the info you wanted about Annual Fusion
Idris Arslanian (why does a Pakistani have an Armenian name?) gets schooled by Pemulis on the details of Annual Fusion, as Lyle works with poor Doucette, who can’t wrap his head around it, especially “the temporal-flux stuff.”