Monday, November 17, 2008

...gasping for intelligent thought.

"What do you know about Dylar?"
"Is that the black girl who's staying with the Stovers?"
"That's Dakar," Steffie said.
"Dakar isn't her name, it's where she's from," Denise said. "It's a country on the ivory coast of Africa."
"The capital is Lagos," Babette said. "I know that because of a surfer movie I saw once where they travel all over the world."
"The Perfect Wave" Heinrich said. "I saw it on TV."
"But what's the girl's name?" Steffie said.
"I don't know," Babette said, "but the movie wasn't called The Perfect Wave. The perfect wave is what they were looking for."
'They go to Hawaii," Denise told Steffie, "and wait for these tidal waves to come from Japan. They're called origamis."
"And the movie was called The Long Hot Summer," her mother said.
"The Long Hot Summer," Heinrich said, "happens to be a play by Tennessee Ernie Williams."
"It doesn't matter," Babette said, "because you can't copyright titles anyway."
"If she's an African," Steffie said, "I wonder if she ever rode a camel."
'Try an Audi Turbo."
"Try a Toyota Supra."
"What is it camels store in their humps?" Babette said. "Food or water? I could never get that straight."
"There are one-hump camels and two-hump camels," Heinrich told her. "So it depends which kind you're talking about."
"Are you telling me a two-hump camel stores food in one hump and water in the other?"
"The important thing about camels," he said, "is that camel meat is considered a delicacy."
"I thought that was alligator meat," Denise said.
"Who introduced the camel to America?" Babette said. "They had them out west for a while to carry supplies to coolies who were building the great railroads that met at Ogden, Utah. I remember my history exams."
"Are you sure you're not talking about llamas?" Heinrich said.
"The llama stayed in Peru," Denise said. "Peru has the llama, the vicuña and one other animal. Bolivia has tin. Chile has copper and iron."
"I'll give anyone in this car five dollars," Heinrich said, "if they can name the population of Bolivia."
"Bolivians," my daughter said.

Don DeLillo, White Noise (New York: Viking, 1985), pp. 80-81.

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