Friday, April 15, 2005

How Far Is the Old Post Inn?

I'm not much for explanations, which seem to start out plainly enough, but then branch into networks of circulatory complexity, ultimately leaving me far behind, a clump of veins in each hand, and none the wiser.
I've suffered some sort of cerebral exhaustion, though it started out as a persistent pain in my neck muscles, and I haven't wanted to write, except for unkind remarks scrawled in the margins of catalogues from furniture suppliers, dealers in sporting goods, and marginal colleges with lovely clumps of trees and entrance requirements based mostly on being far younger than I am. This is in some way a clear effect of my recent journey to Northampton and environs, although one could easily make the case that I would now be recovering from the trip whether in fact I had made it or not.
I wanted to make the trip by private dirigible, but the winds were irascible for such an undertaking. Second choice would be via the below-ground canal from Boston Harbor to Holyoke, a project on which the Massachusetts Subwaterway Commission has been making great advances since 1947, but it is not yet completed, as funds are inadequate, workers are suffering from malaria and unexplained blindness, it is finished to a length of only ten miles, it is closed to the public, it is subject to cave-ins, and no one wishes to use it anyway. So we went with the family car, even though wheeled vehicles are very much out of date, and children tend to throw things at them, often from bridges.
We stayed one evening with Agent Thong, who tried to explain to us the cultural verities of the backwoods, but I merely pretended to pay attention, instead endeavoring to shift my line of sight by closing first one eye, then another -- a line of research which was also quite engaging. They do have books out in the country, I was a bit surprised to learn -- also picture broadcasts of something called "television," which seems to be a makeshift combination of moving pictures and the radio. Very odd. I had thought such things as pickup trucks and cows were purely imaginary, invented by authors of children's books, but it turns out that they are all too real, though whether they are functional in some sense or merely decorative I was unable to determine.
We also visited Uncle Silas in his mist-enshrouded mansion, where Aunt Gretel attends to the clocks and the suits of armor while cackling just out of sight. The children are long-gone, but their cobwebbed portraits still wink from the stairwell. We discussed the depradations of Napoleon Bonaparte, about which Silas is still much exercised.
We stayed the night at an odd hotel, something we stumbled upon after being lost on back roads for several hours in the fog before seeing its crude wooden sign hanging from a dead tree by a single nail. Though we really just wanted a cup of tea and a map, the pale girl at the desk insisted she had reservations for us that had been made weeks before. Well, why not? So we lit our way to the room with our lamps, and everything was an awful shade of crimson, but the couches were comfortable, the beds slightly damp but otherwise adequate. I was somewhat taken aback by the miniature bathroom products, as they seemed designed for the needs of miniature people, which led me to wonder just what sort of clientele the establishment usually served. I didn't want to know, and neither would you; I was just tired.
No one was at the desk next morning, so we couldn't pay our bill, so we went off in search of the day's adventures. We tried to find our way back, but, as is customary in such cases, could find no sign of the place, nor were the intermittently spaced yokels who stood motionless here and there in the wood of any help. At least they kept their faces covered, thank God.
So you see it was a quite uneventful few days, nothing to report here, not even any of those strange sexual encounters which seem to beckon me in the shadows of our darker climes, and which I always relate in staggering detail in these pages. Or maybe those are some other pages. However that may be, there'll be writing here soon enough. Won't there?