Yesterday morning, the Direct TV guy came to install a larger dish and an updated box. This fellow was so neat. He was professional and polite. But he was wonderfully peculiar. It was as if unnerving voices were whispering in his head. He projected a tenseness, almost quivering with vague spiritual unease. He was enveloped in a penumbra of distractedness. And he had a clipped, reluctant sense of humor.
I would have enjoyed having a non-Direct TV conversation with this young fellow. But how could I or anyone overcome his internal quivering? Suspicious energies were pouring off him and puddling around his hurried steps. He was efficient. He moved in a nervous blur. He seemed like one of my nightly dream characters come to dubious life.
Afterwards, it struck me that no novel could have prepared me for this Direct TV guy. And no literary critic's exposition could touch his persona. He is of no type. He is himself. No writer could capture the essence of his flustered, vibrating soul. Novels give us characters that are nice to spend time with. Critics try to tease out universals from the interplay of characters and their locations in plot. But real life and real people are different. Real people, like my Direct TV guy, are unique and thoroughly unexpected. No novel could contain him.
I'm glad he came yesterday. He refreshed me with how wild and preposterous is the world.