This has been a quiet week off. James is under the weather, so things in the house are abnormally quiet. No music playing, no TV in the background, very little talking. I’ve spent my time reading, relaxing and not being online. When I have been at my computer, I’ve been working on my new play and not doing much in the way of blogging or emailing. And I’ve gotten together with friends for lunch every day this week – some are in town from points elsewhere and others are, like me, using the holidays as an excuse to get together. It’s been fun. Laid back and fun, just as a vacation at home should be.
Today I finished reading Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth. I picked it up at the Henry Miller Library on vacation a couple of weeks ago. The girl who checked me out said it was her favorite book, which I took as a compliment to my good taste at the time, but I’ve since realized that my father might have stopped by before I got there and told her to say that. (see: this blog post – next to last photo caption – for that comment to make sense). What a delightful read. Well, “delightful” probably isn’t the right word. It was a scathing read. An uncomfortable read. A painfully funny read. I haven’t read something with that much masturbation in it in my life. My eye is still stinging…(inside joke).
The book was published in 1969, and I have to assume it raised more than a few eyebrows at the time. It’s full of sex, but it’s not sexy. Especially because of Portnoy’s ever-present, mood-killing parents. [Larry David had to have at least partially based George Costanza’s parents on Seinfeld on Portnoy’s parents. As I read I kept thinking of this scene from Seinfeld, which I still quote.] If this book hasn’t been done as a stage play yet, it should be. It’s basically a really terrific, hours-long monologue. The narrator is a great character. He’s a self-involved asshole who’s fairly honest with himself about his self-involvement and assholeness. And he wants to change. He just needs to meet the right girl…or…maybe not. I’m pretty sure I dated a 1990’s version of Portnoy. At least one.
Next vacation-purchased book in the hopper: Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck. Dude, he traveled the country with his DOG. I love it already.
A final note about the holidays: I have a highly honed ability to be annoyed by stupid commercials, so it was nice when James found one that bugged the shit out of him. If you don’t feel like clicking, it’s the Hyundai commercial with the hipsters singing monotone Christmas carols, the singer chick having vacant eyes/bangs and the drummer guy wearing skinny jeans/beard. They’re stupid singing hipsters, sure, but the commercial didn’t register on my annoy-a-meter until James said something. The duo is actually a band and not just actors – I just tried watching a video on their website but couldn’t deal with the twee song and the singer chick’s soulless eyes. (Get off my lawn!)
Happy end of 2010. I hope 2011 is a happy and healthy year for you and yours.