Monday, August 18, 2008

I dreamed I saw a silver spaceship flying in the yellow haze of the sun...

Right now I'm halfway through Kazuo Ishiguro's The Unconsoled. It's hard. It's complete stream-of-consciousness dream logic - the main character will be in one place, bump into someone he knew from his childhood, get sidetracked by that person into driving fifty billion miles into the country to some remote place where he'll meet six other people he knew from past experiences, have a conversation with them completely unrelated to whatever he was just doing, then walk through a door in a building and be back in the same room he started in. It's exhausting to read, honestly, because after 250+ pages of this kind of storytelling it hasn't let up and hasn't offered any sort of explanation for why it's doing whatever it's doing. It's one thing to read 50 or 100 pages of a story told that way - it's another to get halfway through a book that's over 500 pages long and feel like the next half is going to be exactly the same. Sigh.

As it turns out the HEB near our apartment is doing some kind of 17-month-long renovation-from-hell thing. And so grocery shopping? Is exactly like being stuck in The Unconsoled. The shelves are rearranged on a daily basis adhering only to someone's twisted "dream logic" of how things should be. The aisles are crammed full of shoppers in a daze, frantically trying to figure out what they're looking for, where they are, who they are, and what day it is. It's total chaos. And of course it doesn't matter if you go in one day and figure out where the tea and coffee are - the next day, they will have moved to another section entirely. And this is exactly why I left the grocery store on Saturday without tea or coffee: I do my grocery shopping by going up and down each aisle and grabbing things I need as I go. I keep a list, but there's always something (like tea or coffee) that inadvertently gets left off, so driving my cart down the aisle will usually remind me that I need to get whatever it is. Except when they freaking move the aisle. I left without tea or coffee because I never went past the tea or coffee. So a second trip to HEB was necessary, and this time I just walked right up to someone and asked for help. Turns out the coffee had been split into two aisles, one where the makeup used to be and one in the middle of the store, and the tea had been moved to where the old photo booth used to be (say that with a Maine accent). Because that's where tea lives in MY dream logic.
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