Walker Percy Wednesday 86

percycovercroppea

Ewell McBee, he reflected as he lay prone under the Rolls, was another example of the demented and farcical times we live in. Did the growing madness have something to do with the Jews pulling out? Who said we could get along without the Jews? Watch the Jews, their mysterious comings and goings and stayings! The Jews are a sign! When the Jews pull out, the Gentiles begin to act like the crazy Jutes and Celts and Angles and redneck Saxons they are. They go back to the woods. Here we are, retired from the cities and living deep in the Southern forests and growing nuttier by the hour. The Jews are gone, the blacks are leaving, and where are we? deep in the woods, socking little balls around the mountains, rattling ice in Tanqueray, riding $35,000 German cars, watching Billy Graham and the Steelers and M*A*S*H on 45-inch Jap TV.

*****

There were those who had plans, whose eyes and movements were aimed toward a future, and those who did not. Some youngish people, that is, between twenty and thirty-five, sat on the sidewalk in silence. Though they sat or lay in relaxed positions, time did not seem to pass easily for them. They looked as if they had gone to great lengths to deal with the problem of time and had not succeeded. They were waiting. What were they waiting for?

*****

They had plans and the plans took up their time.

*****

What she feared was a breakdown in the rules of ordinary living which other people observed automatically. What if the rules broke down? Suddenly she remembered that she had once been an A student. But what if she flunked ordinary living?

*****

Why was the discovery so difficult? Because it is the very nature of the thing to be discovered and the very nature of the seeking that it could not be found by asking somebody or by reading a book. Imagine being born with gold-tinted corneas and undertaking a lifelong search for gold. You’d never find it.

71x7p-XhQGL