Monday, September 14, 2009

David Foster Wallace: In Memoriam

I miss Dave for his humaness and his sweet honesty. I often have trouble winding up a conversation myself. Maybe I should try Dave's method. I don't care if some people come back anyway.

“In real life I always seem to have a hard time winding up a conversation or asking somebody to leave, and sometimes the moment becomes so delicate and fraught with social complexity that I’ll get overwhelmed trying to sort out all the different possible ways of saying it and all the different implications of each option and will just sort of blank out and do it totally straight—‘I want to terminate the conversation and not have you be in my apartment anymore’—which evidently makes me look either as if I’m very rude and abrupt or as if I’m semi-autistic and have no sense of how to wind up a conversation gracefully. Somehow, in other words, my reducing the statement to its bare propositional content ‘sends a message’ that is itself scanned, sifted, interpreted and judged by my auditor, who then sometimes never comes back. I’ve actually lost friends this way.”

14 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

One of my favorite friends ever used to take her leave from my house by saying, "Bye!" and then striding purposefully out the door. I always stood there in shock- what? She just left?
Here in the south we have to do what I call the Southern Good-bye. We trail after the departing person to the car where we then have at least one more conversation and then the person finally gets IN the car and rolls down the window and the good-bye goes on for a bit longer and then we stand in the driveway and wave as they leave saying, "Good-bye, drive safe, I love you!" and this can take an hour.
Drives me crazy but this is good manners in the south.
Now as to how to get people OUT of the house- I think I am going to start using Mr. Foster's method because sitting there and beaming thought rays into their heads which say something like, "Please. Fucking leave already," does not work. Believe me.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Midwesterners are that way, too. We follow the departing guest out the door and stand on the front porch and wave and wave (even in the dark) until the motherfucker is a damn speck on the horizon. It would be bad manners not to.

May said...

SB,
You are always drawing my attention to people I should have heard of but have not. I was already planning on going to the library today and now I have a new author to check out. Thank you.
love,
May

Glimmer said...

I knew a wonderful old coot who would cook the most fabulous dinners for guests, many Chinese stir-fried courses, one after the other served up right from the wok and enjoyed over several hours. He had spent years in Asia and learned them there. Then, after the meal-ending oranges and cookies, he would look one guest in the eye and say, "It's time for you all to leave now." And we would gather up our things and hustle out the door.

It was a shock the first time, but quite worth it!

Ms. Moon said...

Exactly! We just have to go out to the car, too.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

May,
I am happy to point you to DFW. He takes some work to read, but is well worth it.

Love you. Thanks for reading me.

SB

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Glimmer,
I love your stories. Wonderful.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Love, SB.

Joy said...

I heard something once about a guy saying to his wife when company had stayed too long, "Honey, we'd better go to bed so these good people can go home now." I live alone but need to think of something similar.

Wish I could do what I did at school with parents and get up and start walking to my classroom door while still talking to them. Most of them caught on and left.

Yes, I also live in the South.

Glimmer said...

My grandmother said you have to stand and wave until the guests are completely out of sight because "they will think you are thrilled they are finally gone if you just run back into the house." And like Ms. Moon says, you can't even say a quick goodbye. It has to be lingering, lots of hugging and discussing about how great the visit went and promising to get together again soon. And it's best if children and dogs can chase after the car for a while. Tears are always good too.

And thank you very much, SB. I'm gearing up for another round.

Steph said...

My family still does the walking out to the car, still talking, through the car window, still talking, waving and hollering down the driveway thing... and we've been in California for 2 generations now. We are freaks.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Steph,
But when you walk out to the car to say goodbye, you have to dodge CHIHUAHUA HEADS!

Sorry, I can't let this go.

Love, SB.

miss alaineus said...

in my part of the ghetto if peeps follow you out to the car they are either gonna gank your wallet or carjack you....

but hey, i say nice things about detroit on occasion too.

thanks for being a spot of sunshine on this dung heap of a monday.

xxalainaxx

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Miss Alaineus,
That's why I blog, baby. To make people smile or laugh. Life is tough.

Love you shitloads,

SB

Steph said...

I'm gonna make your ass a chihuahua head mobile.