Mar 21, 2003

Oops, missed a day again. Good thing no one is reading this. Beth’s old high school friend Phil called up out of the blue last week, saying he needed to come to Boston because both his parents were in the hospital. She spoke to him for a little while, then didn’t hear anything for several days, then he called again Tuesday nght to say he was arriving Wednesday morning. His dad was in the VA hospital in West Roxbury, so once he arrived he went straight there and found out everything that was wrong with him, which was quite a bit. He got to Natick somehow and Beth picked him up there Wednesday evening, ostensibly to take him to his parents’ house, but when they got there the place was in such a state of disarray that she had him come back to our house for the night. Yesterday morning the hospital called to tell him his dad had died. Beth drove him out there again, then back to the hospital in Framingham where his mother is, and didn’t get back home till late last night, and he spent the night at our house again. Bear in mind this guy is Beth’s age, doesn’t drive, and before yesterday hadn’t seen his parents in 13 years (and that was only because he came here for our wedding). He has no job, has never married, still rents an apartment, and seems to have done a superhuman job of avoiding responsibility for his adult life. Now that he’s here, he’s got the opportunity to sort out the various entanglements left by his parents, which I suppose it’s in his best interest to do, so I’m mildly curious to see what comes of it. What is this disaffected generation from moderately well-off families, smart people with lots of promise who started college, couldn’t quite stick with it, end up in a variety of uninteresting and/or menial jobs, shun commitment, and now, firmly entrenched in middle age, have built up very little to show for their lives so far? There’s a screenplay in that somewhere.

While I was sitting at home alone again last night I watched an episode of the Prisoner on DVD. I’ve been trying to get the one with the first episode from Netflix for months, but it’s perpetually flagged as “long wait”, so I gave up and went on to the next disk, having a vague recollection of the premise. As it turns out there’s about a three-minute montage recapping the first episode at the beginning of the next, so that filled in some gaps too. I’ve only seen a few of them over the years, and not any that I can remember since I was staying at Tufts in the summer of ’86, but what I saw jibed with my hazy memory. This show has got to be the most audacious thing ever produced for television, it’s so New Wave, so contemptuous of its audience, it’s fascinating to watch. It’s the same feeling I get reading Grant Morrison’s “The Invisibles” comic, except I think there’s probably less continuity in The Prisoner from one episode to the next. Can’t wait to see the next one.

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