Monday, October 29, 2012

An Email From Bill Orchard

Last night around 9pm I drove someone home and it was like a ghost town out there.  Plenty of empty taxi's on the prowl with no passengers.  Actually it was quite beautiful.  Reminded me of Walker Percy.....see this for instance, about his book...

The Last Gentleman .....At one point, Will recalls a date with a girl named Midge Auchincloss. The date is a disaster until the two are caught in a hurricane. "Though science taught that good environments were better than bad environments, it appeared to him that the opposite was the case. Take hurricanes, for example, certainly a bad environment if ever there was one. It was his impression that not just he but other people felt better in hurricanes," Percy writes. The hurricane, it turns out, saved the day:

The hurricane blew away the sad, noxious particles which befoul the sorrowful old Eastern sky and Midge no longer felt obliged to keep her face stiff. They were able to talk. It was best of all when the hurricane's eye came with its so-called ominous stillness. It was not ominous. Everything was yellow and still and charged up with value.

Percy has pointed out this strange phenomenon many times. In the first chapter of The Message in the Bottle, he asks,

Why do people often feel so bad in good environments that they prefer bad environments?
Why does a man often feel better in a bad environment?
Why is a man apt to feel bad in a good environment, say suburban Short Hills, New Jersey, on an ordinary Wednesday afternoon? Why is the same man apt to feel good in a very bad environment, say an old hotel on Key Largo during a hurricane?

What's behind this experience? 

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