09 December 2015

Disintegrating Mind

"But pretty soon he was calling people on the telephone. He called everybody. He talked for fifteen minutes, or a half hour, or an hour, or two hours. At first, he was entertaining, as always. People were happy to hear from him. He called his friends two or three times a day. Then five or six. Then ten. Then twelve. He called from his apartment. He called from pay phones around campus, the locations of which he had memorized. Leonard knew about a phone in the subbasement of the physics lab, and of a cozy telephone closet in the administration building. He knew about a broken pay phone on Thayer Street that recycled your coin. He knew about unguarded phones in the philosophy department. From each and every one of these phones Leonard called to tell his listeners how exhausted he was, how insomniac, how insomniac, how exhausted. All he could do, apparently, was talk on the phone. As soon as the sun rose, Leonard telephoned his early-rising friends. Having been up all night, he called to speak to people not yet in the mood for conversation. From them, he moved on to other people, people he knew well or had barely met, students, departmental secretaries, his dermatologist, his advisor. When it got too late on the East Coast to call anyone, Leonard went through his phone book, looking up the numbers of friends on the West Coast. And when it got too late to call Portland or San Francisco, Leonard faced the terrifying three or four hours when he was alone in his apartment with his own disintegrating mind."

- Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot