Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dwight

Seen on the Purple Line to the Loop at about 6:30 p.m., March 13th, 2013

“Isn’t it funny,” he thought as his head cracked against the metal door, “that the last time this happened was another March, three years ago? Or was it two? Three.”

“Isn’t it funny,” he thought as he slid down to the floor, “that my body used to shake this way when I was little, when Uncle Frank would come around, and now that I’m an old man I have a disease that makes me do it? It’s like my body learned it. Uncle Frank was a good teacher.”

“Isn’t it funny,” he thought, as a young man rolled up his sweatshirt and placed it beneath Dwight’s head, “isn’t it funny that these kids will touch me now, at my ugliest, at my sickest, when nobody else will? Isn’t it funny that the last time this happened—three years ago, not two—my daughter called the doctors, but she wouldn’t touch me?”

“Isn’t it funny? Isn’t it? Isn’t it funny, now that I’m laying here and dying—am I dying? I’m shaking, but am I dying? I’d rather not go this way, but we don’t tend to get a choice. My back hurts. Isn’t it funny, now that I’m laying here and maybe-dying, that what I’m most worried about is the weed in my pocket? I don’t want the doctors to take it away. It’s better than any medicine. I haven’t had a seizure since I started smoking—three years ago, not two—until now, that is.”

“Isn’t it funny that I’d rather the doctors not be here? They treat me like an old sick man, which is what I am, but they also call me ‘boss,’ which is what Uncle Frank used to call me. So am I an old sick man or a child or what? I think that this is all very funny. I think.”

So I was riding the train home yesterday and this "Dwight" fellow had a seizure! I think he was ok. He was conscious the whole time, and was able to answer the paramedics' questions. Apparently he had Parkinson's. It was scary. Hope all is well with him now.

In other news, Felipe and I were having a rather long discussion about whether or not I should have closed the quotation marks at the end of each of these paragraphs. Initially I wasn't going to because I know that when someone is speaking several paragraphs of uninterrupted dialogue, you're not supposed to close the quotes at the ends of paragraphs so the reader knows it's all the same person. But here the narrator is constantly interrupting, and each paragraph is kind of a separate thought. And they're thoughts, not dialogue. And it just looked weird. Does anyone know what the rule is here? I'm curious. Please let me know if you do.

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