Saturday, July 5, 2014

the last book I ever read (Richard Ford's Independence Day, excerpt seven)

from Independence Day by Richard Ford:

The corners of Ann’s mouth thicken with disapproval—of me. “Maybe you could think of your children as a form of self-discovery. Maybe you’d see your interest in it then and do something a little more wholeheartedly yourself.” Ann’s view is that I’m a half-hearted parent; my view is that I do the best I know how.

“Maybe,” I say, though the thought of dread-filled weekly drives to dread-filled New Haven for expensive fifty-five dread-filled minutes of mea culpa! mea culpa! gushered into the weary, dread-resistant map of some Austrian headshrinker is enough to set anybody’s escape mechanisms working overtime.

The fact is, of course, Ann maintains a very unclear picture of me and my current life’s outlines. She has ever appreciated the realty business or why I enjoy it—doesn’t think it actually involves doing anything. She knows nothing of my private life beyond what the kids snitch about in offhand ways, doesn’t know what trips I take, what books I read. I’ve over time become fuzzier and fuzzier, which given her old Michigan factualism makes her inclined to disapprove of almost anything I might do except possibly joining the Red Cross and dedicating my life to feeding starving people on faraway shores (not a bad second choice, but even that might not save me from pathos). In all important ways I’m no better in her mind than I was when our divorce was made final—whereas, of course, she has made great strides.

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