GARY: Instead of working, I’m going to go home, caramelize the crisper’s two floppy carrots in some hot marijuana oil with onions, and take it from there.
BEA: Don’t. You’ll hate yourself on Monday. To say nothing of Sunday. You have a profound amount of work to do.
GARY: I know that, Bea. But but but but [whines and whimpers]
BEA: Suit yourself. You’ll be dead someday.
GARY: Maybe I’ll die tonight!
BEA: Maybe you’ll die in three hundred years.
GARY: What if I eat the psychotropic carrots and then go adopt a dog?
BEA: A terrifying idea. Too bad you’ve already eaten enough calories to nourish you for 24 hours. Getting a snack right now might make for a fun and effective “break.”
GARY: I just went outside to smoke a cigarette. I smoked it by the Dog Eared Books sidewalk carts. I read the first few pages of James Lasdun’s The Horned Man, and bought it for a dollar. It’s a seductive opening for a book semi-randomly selected from a cart:
One afternoon earlier this winter, in a moment of idle curiosity, I took a book from the shelf in my office and began reading it where it fell open on a piece of compressed tissue that had evidently been used as a bookmark. I’d only had time to read a few sentences when I was interrupted by a knock on the door. Reluctantly—the sentences had looked interesting—I closed the book on its marker and returned it to the shelf.
BEA: I see what you mean. You shared the narrator’s “idle curiosity” in a book selected at random—and his placid interest in the sentences contained therein!
GARY: I also liked how the narrator opened the book to a random page in the middle, whereas I was reading the book’s opening—but in more or less the same way I’d have read a page at random. It’s as if Lasdun had predicted the manner in which I’d come to his book. A clever and subtle variation on another kind of novelistic preface—”The book you hold in your hands, gentle reader, may contain some sentences of interest…”
BEA: What’s that from?
GARY: Nothing. That was just my made-up example.
BEA: Try to work until six and then go home and do the carrots.
GARY: If I eat pot after 5 p.m. I invariably wake up stoned the next day.
BEA: Work till six, go home, read, and go to sleep. Sunday will be a boon.
GARY: Unlikely. I hate you.
BEA: You hate nothing. You remind me of nothing so much as the dining hall at Bowdoin College.
GARY: In that I seem to “contain” a large group of distracted and druggie scholars procrastinating and gorging themselves?
BEA: No, I mean you physically resemble that building. With its round white façade, the syruped steam farting from the loading bays.
GARY: I hate you.
BEA: You’re handsome, don’t get me wrong. And you hate nothing.