• 102.

    I don't know where we are anymore—at least I don't know firmly where we are, which is probably fitting since I never quite know firmly where I am— But I mean in terms of theater, not-theater, play, not-play, Alfred Returner, not-Alfred Returner, etc. Here's what I think is true: I think we're in a theater, but I don't think there has been any preparation for showing you a play (I don't even know if we have actors), I think I decided I was not going to show you a play, although we are in a theater (to the best of my recollection), so in fact, I could show you a play if I wanted to. This theater we're in, it has torches throwing great wild flames outside— Oh, yes, we're in a theater! Even if we weren't, let's be! Personally, I'd like to live in a theater, but that's probably not going to happen. I think I remember mentioning that I wanted to eliminate cars in this world where our theater is and that we have driven to it in a horse-drawn sleigh and you had some problem with fur. Yes, now I am remembering (I was always remembering, don't let me fool you), for I bumped up against a little problem—at least I would have bumped up against it if I were going to show you the play. You see, cars are mentioned in the play, so how in good conscience could I eliminate them in the streets and ask you to freeze to death on your way to the theater? (This I don't remember: Have I written that before?) I had one of two choices. I could either put the cars back in the street, or I could excise the line that mentions cars in the play (actually, I have another choice, I could not show you the play—we could find something else to do in the theater, we could romp or sit in the springy seats and talk, we could talk about anything, we could talk about everything, time is different in the theater, we could go through the costume department and see if there is anything we would like to wear that is different from the things we usually wear and we could then see if that takes our conversation in unusual directions, and we could also talk at full volume or even louder if we wanted to). Here is a portion of the line I would have to cut:  “...to lace the sky with rails that cleared the earth of cars.” Personally, I am someone who is comfortable with paradox and contradiction—I believe it is the ground we stand on, so we had better make peace with it. So I could live with not having cars in the streets while having them mentioned in the play. On the other hand, I am not someone who is comfortable with inconsistency. If you are inconsistent with me, I will lose my mind! So a decision must be made—or at least it would have to be made if I were going to show you the play, which I'm fairly sure I'm not doing. Let's talk about it. We can feel the springs in the seats we are sitting in (rather more like on) because they are old and the velvet cushions have worn away. Springs our sitting bones are perched upon....