Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Care and Feeding of "in"

You've been at some pains in your attempts to describe how to get "in" a particular narrative, experiencing greater degrees of the narrative's reality than you do the settings of the reality you just left. Most probably, you will never get the exact coordinates to your satisfaction; for one thing, when you're in, you're never sure quite how you got there, and for another, when you're out, you aren't entirely sure how or why it was you were evicted.


Although you frequently gain access to "in" where your computer and large-screen monitor are set up, you also get "in" at another favored venue, Peet's Coffee, using no computer at all but rather your favored implement, the fountain pen.

There are yet other places, some of them benign and innocent, such as La Luna, a coffee house on the main drag of the village of Summerland, scant miles away. Also, there are dangerous places such as your Yaris when it is on Highway 101 or perhaps the Pacific Coast Highway, or perhaps even the 280 you use to traverse the Bay Area north of San Jose.

The ease of visiting "in" is problematic. There is increasing probability you will ultimately gain admission upon brief effort. Only rarely are you to be confronted with "Closed" or "No Admittance" or the more quixotic"Already Filled to Capacity" signs. With increasing regularity, you discover, with a jolt similar to the awareness of lapsing from being awake to full-on sleep, that you have been "in" somewhere, in some narrative-related venue, with no clue how you got there. The problem with problematic in this case is that the more you think about the care and feeding of "it," or "How You Can Achieve IT," the more likely events, possibilities, and consequences occur of a piece with Sally, being over at the Cudahy's, hooraying the guests of a bridge party to their absolute distraction, with you wondering how she got over there in the first place as opposed to you taking the most reliable step to secure her return, which is to turn on the engine of your car, a gambit that brings her on the run, hopeful of an adventure of greater magnitude than barking at the participants of a bridge party.

It is best, you believe, merely to observe the process of gaining entry, perhaps even considering writing a history of it, better than forcing your way at the process with an academic paper, fraught with conditional and subjunctive tenses. Besides, being "in" changes from time to time and place to place to the point where, were you not careful, you'd have forced your way into a now empty building where a monumental party took place only last week.


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