Monday, July 26, 2010

Vladimir Nabokov | Pale Fire | 1962

Dear Hazel Shade,

Wow, I wish we could have met. Gotten coffee or something. You were the most interesting character in the whole labyrinthine, genius, too-pretty-for-its-own-good perambulating book, and even the narrator seemed to kind of hate you. (I mean, whoever was the narrator at any given time. That book is some kind of fucked up.) And apparantly you talked to ghosts? That's so cool. If you'd stuck around long enough you'd see that weirdo outcast girls are the new rockstars. Emo, I think the word is. Blond skinny perky chicks still rule the universe, unfortunately. But we're getting there. We're getting there.

You would have been so awesome. You'd have loved _Six Feet Under_ and Lemony Snicket and Tim Burton and every Todd Solondz movie. You'd burn incense in your room and listen to the Magnetic Fields on Friday nights. You'd wear ankle-length skirts and shuffle down the halls, and kids would look at you with lots of awe because they knew you got into Wesleyan and could kick the shit out of them in Academic Bowl. And when you read Prozac Nation, which you could swear was your autobiography except for all the sex, you would learn that drowning is one of the least painful ways to die. Is that actually true? I know there's some debate over whether or not you did, in fact, kill yourself, but I'm not passing judgment. I'm just curious. We're all a little curious about the road not taken.

Actually I went on a blind date once. It didn't end as badly as yours did, but it still ended badly. This was when I was living in Baltimore with five roommates. I wasn't even set up. I was just like, You know what would be fun? So I wrote back to this Craigslist ad. My coworker did my hair and my makeup and all that. I was excited. And I met him and, first of all, we went to the fucking Inner Harbor. The Harbor is actually kind of cool, but we were in the part where there's like the Hard Rock Cafe and ESPNZone and outdoor concerts where they charge eight dollars for a Heineken. He didn't talk much, and I don't talk much, and anyway it was hard to hear. So we went into Barnes and Noble and walked around. I think I held out some ridiculous hope for a "Holy shit! We like the same obscure books! Let's go talk about them somewhere in Fells Point where booze is a little cheaper and get drunk and make out, so at least I'll have something cool to tell my roommates, all of whom think I lead a nerdy, fairly pedestrian life!" Well. We got as far as "Family Guy is still funny, even though we're supposed to be grown-ups." Then at about 7 PM (I'd left work at 5, remember) he said he had to head home and go to bed. In all fairness, I think he had just started a new job or something. But seriously. Seven o'clock. Home to bed. He didn't give me a ride, either. I had to take the bus.

He was a much nicer guy than Peter Provost, that ass who took you out. Peter was a dick. Your dad was a dick too. Do you get the theme that basically men are dicks? For real, Hazel. You should have hung on a little longer and wrote your own Pale Fire sendup/fuck-you book. Some Simone de Beauvoir/Margaret Atwood type of thing. Undergrad girls at hundreds of universities would get coffee stains on it. I would totally buy your book secondhand and loan it out to someone who would probably forget to bring it back.

Amy Bergen