When I was younger I spent a lot of time reading Calvin and Hobbes. In fact, I spent time reading a great many comics (Archie paperbacks & digests from the ’60s, for instance, leftovers from my mother’s own childhood, kept in boxes at my grandmother’s house to keep us petulant grandchildren occupied), but Calvin and Hobbes was the most important, the best loved. When Bill Watterson stopped writing the strips I engaged in a lengthy fantasy about how I would write him a letter beseeching him to continue. And although (even in my fantasy) the letter wouldn’t change his mind about retiring the comic, he would invite me to his home and we would become friends. He would teach me to paint.
My image of the Watterson abode, in memory, is probably not flattering to poor Bill. It is cavernous and Havisham-esque, light leaking in through heavy curtains and lead-paned glass. There was no logic behind this image; it was just what came to mind.
One Calvin & Hobbes strip I remember in particular is about Calvin’s fear of losing himself in sleep. Hobbes comforts him that they will meet again in their dreams, and the two close their eyes, smiling. In the Annotated Calvin & Hobbes (oh, did you not know I was both a nerd and an obsessive?), Watterson says this was an homage to his cat Sprite, who had recently passed away. Sprite was the original inspiration for Hobbes.
I don’t particularly fear dying in my sleep – for all my hypochondriacal tendencies, I am pretty laissez-faire about this form of losing consciousness. I like sleeping. It’s nice. But what I do not like is feeling someone else’s heartbeat, whether in wrist or chest or throat. It has always seemed like too much of an invitation to some dark fate. I’ve never understood people who are comforted by leaning their ear on the heart of a beloved, for the sweet and regular lub-dub. A heart is meat, right? Magical meat, with such miraculous systems and properties. A meat machine. I’ve seen too many machines stop for no reason.
So, sorry if you were one of those people until just this minute. I am in a hotel room, and that makes me kind of morbid, because I always feel exiled when alone in hotels. I’m also reading Marisha Pessl’s Night Film which is neo-noir. You know, I was just going to post “In California for work and a friend’s wedding! More posting when I am back home!” But I guess I’m suggestible. And so, as always: Sorry/You’re welcome!