I’m reading Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, a short story collection flavored with lots of details about Indian life. I don’t usually like short stories, but Lahiri is an uncommon writer. My favorite passage so far is a child’s description of what “sexy” means:
“It means loving someone you don’t know.”
Subject: Friend tells me to use his car while he’s gone.
You are perfectly welcome to drive my car around. Just remember to turn the lights off and you should be fine. Oh, and I’d probably prefer it if I could say that I’ve had sex in it more than you have, so try to keep the numbers down.
My dentist supplies headphones for her patients. When you’ve got some quality tunes playing, you hardly notice the smell of burning tooth enamel while she drills. I selected Louis Armstrong.
Two masked dentists leaned over me, backed by a glaring, operating-table light, while I tried not to gag on the spit collecting at the back of my throat. At the peak of my discomfort, Louis sang, “AND I THINK TO MAHSELF, WHUTTA WONDERFUHL WAHHHLDï¿½ (cue strings).” I swear, it was like stepping into a Quentin Tarantino movie. I found it so absurd that I had to control the urge to laugh (funeralsbreakupsthethingsIwishI’dknown). But the more depressing things I thought about, the worse the juxtaposition became. When “Life is a Cabaret” came on, I lost it. With my mouth stretched open like a gasping trout, I started to guffaw.
They, mercifully, assumed I was choking. I tried to cover my lunacy with a few well-placed coughs, and hit stop on the CD player while I was sitting up. I shoulda gone with Korn.