sarkology

Stonehenge

Posted in Uncategorized by sarkology on November 4, 2012

The following is an excerpt from Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City

Abneg, somehow, had gotten onto the subject of a visit he’d made, some time ago, to Stonehenge. “You park in this little area, it’s across the road, and then you buy a ticket, just to be allowed to cross the street. There’s this underground tunnel, you mill through like sheep. And there’s nothing to do except trudge like that, all the way around the thing. They’ve got you in a kind of track, restrained from Stonehenge itself. You can’t go near the rocks. And that’s it. You trudge around single file in a circle, the thing looks a little smaller and less mysterious than you’d hoped, and you go back through the tunnel and maybe stop at the gift shop or the restroom, then back to your car.”

“Unimpressive,” grunted Thatcher.

“Well, sure,” said Abneg. “Totally unimpressive. I wanted to be like one of those apes in whatchamacallit, 2001, by whatsisname, Kubrick, you know, kneeling in fear before those slabs, getting brain-zapped.”

“I never saw 2001,” said Harriet. “It’s about apes?”

“Ape-men,” said Thatcher helpfully.

“They should change the name of that movie,” said Sharon Spencer beside me. “Since the real 2001 turned out so different.”

“Listen,” said Abneg, with exasperation that we hadn’t caught his real drift. “I’m trying to tell you about the Stonehenge restroom. I had to piss, so I went in there, it was a completely modern men’s room, with all these floor- length ceramic urinals. They didn’t have the wit to arrange them in a circle, but the resemblance was obvious. And whereas everyone was jabbering when they walked around Stonehenge, all the moms bargaining with the whining children, in here the men were all silent, avoiding one another’s eyes. Each of us standing at a urinal or waiting our turn, and this profound truth comes over you, a feeling much bigger than anything available outside and cross the road, which is that everyone in that restroom just did the exact same thing you did.”

“Which is what?” said Naomi Kandel.

“Looked at Stonehenge,” said Abneg. “And now you were taking a piss, and then you were going to get back in your car.”

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