“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Atlanta notes 2

Like certain plants which, removed from their native soil, have a tendency to lose their leaves, LI has an odd tendency to develop sore throats and skin rashes once removed from his apartment. Last spring, while skiing with my brothers, I suffered a faux heart attack that proved to be a pulled muscle in, of all places, my chest, caused by dragging piles of logs around for the cabin fireplace. This trip, I have endured a cold and, after a nice jaunt through a nature preserve in Gainesville, a nasty and inexplicable poison ivy rash. I’d like to think this is all some manifestation of proustian sensitivity, but more likely it is just that I am tempted to overexert myself stupidly around my family.

The Atlanta area in November is oddly bleak. November scours off the leaves, and the grass withers on lawn after lawn, and the sky lowers, tingeing the whole area in melancholic sepias. If all American suburban landscapes strive to be that Currier and Ives picture in the bathroom, this is the Currier and Ives reproduction that was left behind by the former inhabitants of the house, who are currently in prison for manufacturing meth. To keep your spirits up in such a landscape requires fireplaces and the flow of liquid spirits, or it requires massive shopping in massive malls. Coincidentally, there are massive malls all over the place in Gwinnett County. Myself, I went to a Fry’s store, a consumer electronics emporium determined to outdazzle Best Buy, and to fling open to the consumer the whole range of electronic gadgets that will make the consumer’s life a binging A/V paradise. In Fry’s, the clerks are so knowledgeable about the latest computer accessories that they rather disdain discussing the topic with customers, who are yahoos and insistent on buying accessories for ancient computers – computers that are two years old, for instance. The clerks will reluctantly point to various shabby boxes containing archaic things you can plug in your computer, but then they go back to their little conventicles and discuss everything in terms of acronyms and slashes – the SSA slash five, the ADA slash A. The glass bead game is gaining on me, and I grow old. I will keep the bottoms of my trousers rolled. Or something like that.

The latest Atlanta craze is the aquarium. We are going to see the aquarium this afternoon. If it is actually there, my theory will be proven wrong. My theory derives from the surprising difficulty in getting tickets to see the aquarium. It used to be that one lined up at a spectacle and bought tickets. No more. Now one has to be a season ticket holder. To be a season ticket holder, you buy your tickets over the internet. Those people who buy their tickets over the internet are preferred to those who merely show up and buy their tickets at the window. But buying tickets over the internet requires calling the aquarium people and being put on hold for hours at a time. Meanwhile, everybody claims that the aquarium is sold out solid for the next two weeks. This combination of difficulties makes me think that the building supposedly holding the aquarium is empty, that they ran out of money for fishes after putting it up, and that they now surround their mistake with the impenetrable shield of a ticket system designed to ward off anybody who desires a ticket.

Since we did get tickets, or at least receipts for tickets, my theory might not be true. We will see.

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