It seems as though little ills like this are always befalling Clarissa, which makes her seem younger than she actually is. Once she lost her passport right before a trip to Mexico. Once her cell phone battery went dead at the same time as her car battery. But if Clarissa is hapless, it is not the definition of her. Because I see something that describes her more clearly. It occurs in the pauses in her speech when her eyes fix on an air spot roughly waist-high and she seems to be in a trance. And then suddenly it's as if her mind races, trying to catch up to real time, and she continues right where she left off.
If you saw her in these moments, you might think she was collecting her thoughts in order to go forward. But I see it another way: Her mind is being overwhelmed by two processes that must simultaneously proceed at full steam. One is to deal with and live in the present world. The other is to re-experience and mourn something that happened long ago. It is as though her lightness pulls her toward heaven, but the extra gravity around her keeps her earthbound.
Or is it that I think too much?
Excerpted from The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin. Copyright (c) 2003 by 40 Share Productions, Inc. Published by Hyperion.
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