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The Weather Diaries - 6 - Lateral Alice

November 10, 2018




"There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, 'Morning, boys, how's the water?'


And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, 'What the hell is water?'"


-D.F.W., Commencement Speech, Kenyon College,  May 21, 2005




I had a dream that we went walking,

David Foster Wallace and I

In great detail we were talking

The Pale King smiled as he kissed the sky



One of my last rides on the ferry.

I'm sitting where they used to keep cars–pre-9/11–it's finally sunny again, and the mist coming off the ocean is briny, and wonderful. It’s pulverized into the air by the prow of the ship. The mist glitters in the light, looking like the tiny blips I’d get in my vision from time to time, whenever I got dizzy.


There’s a bald, tattooed man a few feet away, reading a scene from a novel, subtly palming tears away, in-between holding down pages against the grasping wind. Someone else paced along the deck, face troubled, but too far to tell why.

When the ferry docks that last time, I grip a nearby handrail, and am glad to find that the captain does it the traditional way–like someone using the curb to even-out a park–he sends her nose straight into the slip and pushes off. Millions of tiny splinters fill the air, wafting the delicious smell of hot lumber through the deck.


The sides of the boat grate against the slip, and the resulting sound is a tremendous screeching. The sound of boat against slip is otherworldly in its volume and timbre. Various tourists look around, aghast at the noise, like nails on chalkboard, except ten times as loud.


When the bridge descends, people step onto the mist-slick deck and wait until the worker pulls back the mooring line, then the security gate.

Time to disembark.



Someone said "Smile" and I turned around

He pulled the trigger and I hit the ground

Waking up in another town