Thursday, February 19, 2009

The View from Mrs. Thompson's

Please read David Foster Wallace's little essay about his experience on 9/11 in Bloomington, IL. He somehow managed to tease out and magnify the truest and most essential elements of whatever he wrote about, and could be hilarious and heartbreaking all in the same paragraph.

The View from Mrs. Thompson's


In true Midwest fashion, Bloomingtonians aren't unfriendly but do tend to be reserved. A stranger will smile warmly at you, but there normally won't be any of that strangerly chitchat in waiting areas or checkout lines. But now there's something to talk about that outweighs all reserve, like we were somehow all standing right there and just saw the same traffic accident. E.g., overheard in the checkout line at Burwell's (which is sort of the Neiman Marcus of gas station/convenience store plazas — centrally located athwart both one-way main drags, and with the best tobacco prices in town, it's a municipal treasure) between a lady in an Osco cashier's smock and a man in a dungaree jacket cut off at the shoulders to make a sort of homemade vest: "With my boys they thought it was all some movie like that Independence Day til then after a while they started to notice it was the same movie on all the channels." (The lady didn't say how old her boys were.)"

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