Daily Archives: 17 August 2009

A tragic image

Since I couldn’t get to sleep, Here’s a phone snap of my tragically damaged MacBook screen: 17082009

Appropriately enough, the current desktop picture seems to be a snap taken from the rim of the volcano on Vulcano. one of the Aeolian Islands.

Travel Despatch 1

I’ve been in the US for five days, and here I am at three in the morning wide awake . The conference was so busy, my hours there were so odd, and I got so little ultraviolet on the back of my knees that there seems to have been no impact on my jetlag at all. I arrived in Manhattan yesterday at six in the evening, had checked into a (relatively) cheap hotel room on West 45th Street by eight, went to a nearby food outlet where I paid by the pound for some rice and chicken and watched a nice man on CNN  saying that racism exists in the US and is being deployed vigorously in the healthcare debate, and came back to the hotel expecting to sleep like a stone for 10 hours. At 12.30 I snapped awake, my body saying things like, ‘It’s two in the afternoon, you lazy sod, let’s walk the dog!’ If only I’d been this lively at 8.30 I might have gone to see some largely naked actors reciting Leaves of Grass or done something similarly appropriate.

I don’t now what to tell you. There are squirrels in Connecticut, though I didn’t get out in the warm summer sun to see them until the end of the conference. An old friend there told me there was a TV ad for an insurance company that always reminded him of me — and lo, just before the nice anti-racist man came on CNN last night, there was the ad in question. The insurance company is called something like Geico, and the ad features a talking gecko. I couldn’t hear what he was saying (the anti-racist man had subtitles), but I was shocked to see what my old friend meant: apart from the Australian accent, and leaving aside the cute voice, the lizard attributes and the Jiminy Cricket gestures, the little green creature was unnervingly like me when I’m enjoying a bit of craic.

Apart from that little moment, everything here seems just a little bigger than necessary, and the Theatre Theater  District is dazzling: the Scottish restaurant on 42nd Street would have done a Busby Berkeley premiere proud.

My Mac’s screen is broken. I dropped it and next time I turned it on, there was a beautiful abstract design obscuring two thirds of the screen. I can still ue it, but there are ominous signs that even that remaining third is about to die. When daylight comes I’ll set out on what I expect to be a fruitless search for someone who will repair it before I have to  fly to Paris at 5 pm. Wish me luck!

OK, back to bed and Anna Karenina. Sadly it’s far too interesting so far to be a reliable soporific — I’m at the two thirds point, Anna and Vronsky are in Venice where things aren’t looking too good, and Levin and Kitty are discovering that the joys of marriage are quite other than they’d imagined. The fact that I’m reading it after the Book Group discussion only intensifies the weird sense that I’m reading for the first time something that I’ve known reasonably well for years — like meeting a good friend’s old friend.

Next time I write I expect I’ll be  France. It’s not a hard life.