Politics Magazine

Stingo and Me

Posted on the 29 December 2011 by Erictheblue

Stingo, the narrator in Styron's Sophie's Choice, says that the prospect of spending an hour alone with the Brooklyn white pages aroused in him a sense of anticipation almost erotic in its intensity, such was his attraction to words on paper.  I don't have it that bad but I have it bad enough to know what Stingo's talking about.  This morning, I was off from work so that spouse Amanda could keep a 9:30 gyno appointment without having to drag along three bundles of proof that all her parts were there and functioning as of nine, four, and one year ago.  The message I had published on our intranet attendance tracker said "in around noon."  When Amanda got home earlier than I'd expected, I put George Lyman Kittredge's Chaucer and His Poetry into my backpack and caught an express bus before 11.  Suddenly it was clear that I would have almost an hour alone with Kittredge and Chaucer in the corner of a skyway coffee shop between the morning and noon rushes.  Medical devices that measure the rate of various physiological processes would have testified to my excitement, could I have been hooked up during the bus ride.  And the actual event did not disappoint.  The skyways were mostly empty, the coffee shop vacant, and Kittredge coming up to where he discusses how, in what he calls "the marriage group," different Canterbuy pilgrims are by their tales responding to the views expressed by the Wife of Bath, "one of the most amazing characters that the brain of man has ever yet conceived." 

I know, I know, I am a dweeb, but permit me my enthusiasms because when have I ever knocked yours?Unless you are a Republican volunteer or a devotee of some other exotic creed, never.  We are all just trying to do what Dr Johnson called "filling the vacuities" of life.  Have mercy on us.


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