"oh it's almost TOO rich"
|Daniel Lavery||Jun 22, 2017|
Item the first: I've got a piece up on the New Yorker (dot com) this week that's just Tennessee Williams plays with air conditioning. every time I've ever seen a Tennessee Williams play/movie adaptation all I've been able to think about is that scene from "Bart the Fink" where Krusty's Cayman Islands bank manager talks to the IRS over the phone and says "I'm sorry, I can't disclose any information about that customer's secret, illegal account," then hangs up and starts fanning himself before freezing up and saying, "Oh, crap. I shouldn't have said he was a customer. Oh, crap. I shouldn't have said it was a secret. Oh, crap – I certainly shouldn't have said it was illegal!" Then he leans back, fans himself a third time, and blows it all off by saying, "Ahh, it's too hot today."
Everyone has a sticky lower back in a Tennessee Williams play, is what I'm saying, and that has more than a little to do with the general sense of How fucking dare you that pervades most of them. This is not to say that if they were all set in like, Minnesota with a bunch of Lutherans things would look totally different (or at least I really like to think of myself as making jokes at least a half step up from Garrison Keillor but honestly, I'm probably kidding myself and also?? I would be LUCKY to have his longevity), just that the condition of being Too Hot has a much stronger influence on whether or not we are feeling Justifiably Outraged and Put Upon By A Cruel World at any given moment than we would like to think. (oh my God, is this just the temperature equivalent of those dumb YOU'RE NOT YOURSELF WHEN YOU'RE HANGRY, HAVE A SNICKERS commercials? Lord, probably. And once again: it's a clear, memorable premise effectively communicated and I should be so lucky.) Anyhow, the idea made me laugh a lot.
I worried a bit, upon rereading the piece, that it would come across as a little too "Isn't it worrying nowadays how everyone is so gentle and PC and focused on conflict resolution, instead of like how we were full of VIOLENT PASSIONS and FEELINGS in the grand old past?" Because nothing would horrify me more! I cannot help whether I am misunderstood, but I would dislike very much to be misunderstood in that particular way.
Item the second: I've been really fixated the last couple of days on the way people sound when they say, as they are digging into some particularly voluptuous foodstuff, "It's almost too rich," or, just as often, "It's almost too sweet." I wish that once a person had uttered that sentence, they were not allowed to say anything else until they levitated off of the floor and slowly passed through the ceiling and into heaven. It's always upturned at the end – "It's almost too rich?" because the observation requires outside confirmation in order to be true, and more often than not the speaker's eyes are closed in the saying of it, presumably because they have to rummage through some of the deepest and oldest corners of themselves in order to discover whether they actually believe it. Is it? Is it almost too rich? Is it almost too sweet? It's almost –– I hesitate to suggest it –– could it be –– might there it be in the condition of excessive good-tasting-ness?
It should perhaps go without saying that I instinctively mistrust any person who says this in my hearing, even though I already know I am over-disposed to universalizing my own subjective experience and am probably wrong about what other people are feeling 99% of the time. Maybe it is because I have never heard someone say, "It's almost too savory" or "It's almost too cheesy" or "It's almost too herbal" or "It's almost too flaky" or "I like it, but I like it so much that I don't anymore." Which is strange, I think, because I know perfectly well that it is possible for something to be too much of almost anything. I understand that there is a muchness to anything that can border on too. I know it is possible for something to be too sweet to be enjoyable, and yet I have never believed a single person who has spoken that sentence.
Relatedly, whenever someone says (either to me or another person in the conversation), "You were in my dream last night," my first and most immediate response is always, always disbelief: "No, they weren't. You just wanted a reason to talk about this person, and don't wish to own it." Even though I myself have had dreams with other people in them! I know it is possible! (I never tell anyone if they have been in one of my dreams, because it is none of their business.) Some things I just can't bring myself to believe, even though I know they are true.
Item the third: Last night I bolted out of a dead sleep and said to my dog, who was himself sleeping, "D&D character alignments is just Meyers-Briggs for people who have had livejournals." Later, when I was more awake, I tried saying, "Meyers-Briggs is just D&D character alignments for people who have never had livejournals." I cannot decide which version is better, or if either of them are funny, or more than funny, true. I am not sure of anything.