5 August 2004, around 2.43.
The Count said a great many civil things to me upon the occasion; and added, very politely, how much he stood obliged to Shakespeare for making me known to him – But, a-propos, said he, Shakespeare is full of great things he forgot a small punctilio of announcing your name – it puts you under a necessity of doing it yourself.
¶ THERE is not a more perplexing affair in life to me, than to set about telling any one who I am – for there is scarce any body I cannot give a better account of than myself; and I have often wish’d I could do it in a single word – and have an end of it. It was the only time and occasion in my life I could accomplish this to any purpose for Shakespeare lying upon the table, and recollecting I was in his books, I took up Hamlet, and turning immediately to the gravediggers scene in the fifth act, I laid my finger upon YORICK, and advancing the book to the Count, with my finger all the way over the name – Me voici! said I.
– Laurence Sterne
A Sentimental Journey
(‘The Passport – Versailles– 1–2)
20 August 2004, around 17.51.
The look of sunflowers bent in the streetlight.
Streets butting into dead ends and empty lots (still smelling of farmland), signposted ‘private property, trespassing, loitering forbidden’.
Circumspect distance maintained between pedestrians while waiting for the crosswalk signal in pseudo-suburbia: ca. eight feet.
Inconvenient end of the concrete sidewalk in molehills, broken glass, blackberry brambles and dry grass, in a stretch of road without streetlights.
Effort required to see the narrow dirt track by the head- and tail-lights of rare passing cars; also, the effort necessary to walk in a straight line when the pavement resumes.
Reflexive averting of gaze when police car passes.
Realization that pyjamas are perhaps not the most appropriate apparel for these midnight strolls.