Naked | Page 6 of 179

Author: David Sedaris | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 209859 Views | Add a Review

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I might touch the telephone pole at step three hundred and fourteen and then, fifteen paces later, worry that I hadn’t touched it in exactly the right spot. It needed to be touched again. I’d let my mind wander for one brief moment and then doubt had set in, causing me to question not just the telephone pole but also the lawn ornament back at step two hundred and nineteen. I’d have to go back and lick that concrete mushroom one more time, hoping its guardian wouldn’t once again rush from her house shouting, “Get your face out of my toad-stool!” It might be raining or maybe I had to go to the bath-room, but running home was not an option.

This was a long and complicated process that demanded an oppressive attention to detail. It wasn’t that I enjoyed pressing my nose against the scalding hood of a parked car — pleasure had nothing to do with it. A person had to do these things because nothing was worse than the anguish of not doing them. Bypass that mailbox and my brain would never for one moment let me forget it. I might be sitting at the dinner table, daring myself not to think about it, and the thought would revisit my mind. Don’t think about it.

But it would already be too late and I knew then exactly what I had to do.

Excusing myself to go to the bathroom, I’d walk out the front door and return to that mailbox, not just touching but jabbing, practically pounding on the thing because I thought I hated it so much. What I really hated, of course, was my mind. There must have been an off switch somewhere, but I was damned if I could find it.

I didn’t remember things being this way back north. Our family had been transferred from Endicott, New York, to Raleigh, North Carolina. That was the word used by the people at IBM, transferred. A new home was under construction, but until it was finished we were confined to a rental property built to resemble a plantation house. The building sat in a treeless, balding yard, its white columns promising a majesty the interior failed to deliver. The front door opened onto a dark, narrow hallway lined with bedrooms not much larger than the mattresses that furnished them. Our kitchen was located on the second floor, alongside the living room, its picture window offering a view of the cinder-block wall built to hold back the tide of mud generated by the neighboring dirt mound.

“Our own little corner of hell,” my mother said, fanning herself with one of the shingles littering the front yard.

Depressing as it was, arriving at the front stoop of the house meant that I had completed the first leg of that bitter-tasting journey to my bedroom. Once home I would touch the front door seven times with each elbow, a task made more difficult if there was someone else around. “Why don’t you try the knob,” my sister Lisa would say. “That’s what the rest of us do, and it seems to work for us.” Inside the house there were switches and doorstops to be ackn

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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