Friday, August 19, 2016

Poor Yoricks' Summer - Infinite Jest, Pages 601-651

601-619: November 11. Randy Lenz "oozes through the door" at Ennet House just before Don Gately locks it at the curfew of 2330. Lenz is clearly high, but Gately is too busy to pull an immediate spot-urine. Bruce Green arrives late, at 2336, but Gately lets him in. At 0000 Gately has to supervise the residents who own cars moving their cars to be moved to the other side of the street, as per the city's alternate-side parking rules. During the commotion, three Nucks - one of them holding Lenz's white mustache (which had fallen off in the yard while he was killing the Nucks' dog) and other one brandishing an Item - arrive looking for Lenz.

Gately takes in the situation, and Wallace's minute descriptions of what Gately sees includes this: "All this appraisal's taking only seconds; it only takes time to list it." (That reminds me of a similar sentence from "Good Old Neon" (Oblivion): "What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant.")

During the inevitable fight with the Nucks, Gately is shot in the right shoulder. The Nucks are disarmed and likely stomped to death by various residents. Joelle van Dyne is nearby, and a wounded Gately suddenly recognizes her voice. "You're Madame on the FM, is how I knew you. ... Boy do I know guys loved that show you did." Erdedy remarks to himself that Joelle seems to like Gately in "an extracurricular way". The scene ends as a bunch of guys get ready to lift Gately and carry him inside Ennet House (D.G. doesn't want an ambulance called because the cops will get involved and he could go back to jail).

Gately has no idea what Lenz has done to warrant the three furious armed Nucks arriving and being out for blood, and Lenz is obviously a loathsome person, but Gately also knows he has no other choice but to defend him.

620-626: Mid-November. The WYYY student engineer is kidnapped out of a public park in Boston by the AFR, with one member careening down a hill in his wheelchair with a snow-plow-like scoop attached to the front, and he scoops up the engineer and heads for the bottom of the hill, where a white van awaits. It seems clear that the AFR wants to question him about Madame Psychosis, about which he knows very little. Molly Notkin came by the studio to get some old tapes for Joelle and told the engineer Joelle was in "treatment". (Also, Rodney Tine is in Boston (as is Hugh Steeply) to discuss the Entertainment.)

627-638: November 11, 1810h. ETA dining hall. Much description of eating habits. Background on Ortho "The Darkness" Stice, who, surprisingly, nearly beat Hal Incandenza in a hastily called exhibition match this afternoon (which was watched by Steeply). Jim Troeltsch believes the milk provided at ETA is actually secretly made from powdered (Hall and Mario know his suspicions are correct.) Some information on ETA males and sexuality. "Hal is maybe the one male ETA for whom lifetime virginity is a conscious goal." Also, this is a "whole new Hal, a Hal who does not get high, or hide, a Hal who in 29 days is going to hand over his own personal urine over to authority figures with a wide smile and exemplary posture and not a secret thought in his head." This must be fall-out from the post-Eschaton meeting in Tavis's office. (There is also a mention of a girl who dated Orin and worked with Himself who "had been disfigured".)

638-648: May 1. Steeply tells Marathe about his father's initially innocent but soon all-consuming addiction to the old television program M*A*S*H. Wallace brilliantly charts the father's downfall from being attached to watching the show on Thursday nights, to then also watching the reruns in syndication, bringing a small TV to work so he could watch afternoon reruns, to keeping a notebook in which he scribbled notes about the show, to quoting lines and discussing various scenes, to watching feature films starring the show's actors, to referring to his den as the Swamp, to recording all 29 episodes broadcast weekly and organizing the tapes "in baroque systems of cross-reference", to moving his bedding into the Swamp, missing weeks of time from work, writing letters to Major Burns and mailing them to military addresses in Seoul, to his refusal to leave his chair in his den, to his eventual death from heart failure.

648-651: November 13. Ennet House, 0245h. Geoffrey Day is telling Kate Gompert about a dark, billowing mass that terrified him as a child. "It was total horror. Total psychic horror." The feeling eventually left (though Day does not know why or how) and has not returned for roughly 20 years, but: "I understood on an intuitive level why people killed themselves. If I had to go for any length of time with that feeling I'd surely kill myself."

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