First this , then this . From Joan Didion, to her Lady, her Mother; her Husband, her Sister; her Servant her Child; her Wife, her Sister; and to express all that is humble, respectful and loving to her Anna, Joan writes this. A consolatory letter of yours to a friend happened some days since to fall into my hands. I was eating a Cobb salad at the Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks, not to be confused with the Hamburger Hamlet in Westwood Village, which has long since fallen out of the light of the Spirit. My knowledge of the character, my love of the hand that wrote it, and the lengthy wait between the placement of my order and the arrival of the Cobb soon gave me the curiosity to open it. I did not eat the tomatoes; it is my custom never to eat the tomatoes in a Cobb salad. In justification of the liberty I took, I flattered myself I might claim a sovereign privilege over every thing which came from you. But how much did my curiosity cost me? Certainly more than the eleven dollars Hamburger Hamlet charged me for the Cobb salad and the Coca-Cola which accompanied it. How surprised I was to find the whole letter filled with a particular and melancholy account of our misfortunes. I met with my name a hundred times; I never saw it without fear (the fear of a dentist’s wife who has mistakenly taken the onramp to the 110 South). Some heavy calamity always followed it. I saw yours too, equally unhappy. These mournful but dear remembrances put my spirits into such a violent motion that I thought it was too much to offer comfort to a friend for a few slight disgraces by such extraordinary means, as the representation of our sufferings and revolutions. Though length of time ought to have closed up my wounds, yet the seeing them described your hand was sufficient to make them all open and bleed afresh, like Rosemary LaBianca, whose wardrobe contained not a single clean plaid shirtdress.
Subscribe below to read this post