The best thing so far in Thomas Pynchon's V. is his use of "wha." It's not that the book is bad, it's that the "wha" is so good. V. is made up of this consistent, energetic mad dashery where it seems that at any time quaintly-named characters are sprinting to or from revolutions, open fire, and/or parties interrupted only by song, which sometimes is also mad, or the simple, "Wha?" The casual skimping of the "t" makes the "wha" somehow triumphant; in my head, it sounds like, "Whaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!?!" It's pretty easy to get into the story and tag along on the excursions with the characters and one gets almost blasee about all the delirium that's unfolding until this sassified, James Brown-ified "whaaaaa?!?!?!" like jolts you back to your senses and makes you see the loony hoopla for what it is and makes it exciting all over again. The simplicity of the inserted "Whas" exacerbates the gnarliness of everything else. It's perfect.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I know that my employment history is not, erm, traditional. I have no idea how an office functions or what mysterious things happen in a cubicle, conference room or good old office room. Movies, acquaintances who spend time in such environments, and even brief visits to environs that could be qualified as offices have, however, taught me that there is usually a public water cooler and coffee maker, and a telephone on each desk.
My question is this: are the telephones just for show?!?! Are they all set on silent? Is there a special code one needs to dial for said telephones to erupt in coded rings, thereby letting the person at the desk know to actually pick up versus theoretically pick up?! Is it maybe the economy or a deeper existential crisis that has prompted the collective office masses to stop answering their phones?
We will not attend to your offers, demands, polite inquires, calls to productivity or friendly banter. Fuck it!
Is that it?
Making phone calls is an excruciating activity for me to begin with. I have to give myself encouraging pep talks in preparation for each call, practicing what I'm going to say to the unsuspecting, possibly uninterested, busy people on the other end. I have to pretend to be really excited to be having these conversations which in reality make me break out in red blotches all over my neck and chest and which do not subside for 20 minutes after the phone call. (I'm not otherwise neurotic, really. That's true, right, friends?) (As a side note, I once participated in a clinical study about anxiety; I had to answer really obvious, leading questions about "getting anxious" and then play really boring computer games with a bunch of wires plastered to my skull using a plastic pilot's-type hat. I had to call the study to make an appointment.)
So when I go through this exercise, an unceasing little nightmare, many time over in one day and not one person picks up the phone, it's like a cruel joke. Where the hell are you, people? I've been trying to reach one guy in particular for months now, calling almost everyday. Sometimes I'll call from different numbers, at different times throughout the day, etc. I have not reached him once. One day, if anyone ever does pick up, I might just instantly lose it Klaus Kinski-style .
So, uh, keep doing what you're doing and not picking up the phone.