Sunday provided an unexpected treat. No day of rest in the limo. Just the way we like it. Based on a conversation I had with chauffeur Deb, who was set soldiering yesterday, we agreed that the scene filmed is likely from the excerpt I provide below. This story had an Odyssey feel to me when I read it so I loved seeing the start of Eric Packer’s day, just as the journey begins.
If you’re hanging with us through the spoils, see if you agree with the book excerpt after the cut. They aren’t too bad since it’s at the start of the novel.
From Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo:
The wind came cutting off the river. He took out his hand organizer and poked a note to himself about the anachronistic quality of the word skyscraper. No recent structure ought to bear this word. It belonged to the olden soul of awe, to the arrowed towers that were a narrative long before he was born.
The hand device itself was an object whose original culture had just about disappeared. He knew he’d have to junk it.
The tower gave him strength and depth. He knew what he wanted, a haircut, but stood a while longer in the soaring noise of the street and studied the mass and scale of the tower. The one virtue of its surface was to skim and bend the river light and mime the tides of open sky. There was an aura of texture and reflection. He scanned its length and felt connected to it, sharing the surface and the environment that came into contact with the surface, from both sides. A surface separates inside from out and belongs no less to one than the other. He’d thought about surfaces in the shower once.
He put on his sunglasses.
Then he walked back across the avenue and approached the lines of white limousines. There were ten cars, five in a curbside row in front of the tower, on First Avenue, and five lined up on the cross street, facing west. The cars were identical at a glance. Some may have been a foot or two longer than others depending on details of the stretch work and the particular owner’s requirements.
The drivers smoked and talked on the sidewalk, hatless in dark suits, sharing an alertness that would be evident only in retrospect when their eyes went hot in their heads and they shed their cigarettes and vacated their unstudied stances, having spotted the objects of their regard.
For now they talked, in accented voices, some of them, or first languages, others, and they waited for the investment banker, the land developer, the venture capitalist, for the software entrepreneur, the global overlord of satellite and cable, the discount broker, the beaked media chief, for the exiled head of state of some smashed landscape of famine and war.
In the park across the street there were stylized ironwork arbors and bronze fountains with iridescent pennies scattershot at the bottom. A man in women’s clothing walked seven elegant dogs.
He liked the fact that the cars were indistinguishable from each other. He wanted such a car because he thought it was a platonic replica, weightless for all its size, less an object than an idea. But he knew this wasn’t true. This was something he said for effect and he didn’t believe it for an instant. He believed it for an instant but only just. He wanted the car because it was not only oversized but aggressively and contemptuously so, metastasizingly so, a tremendous mutant thing that stood astride every argument against it.
His chief of security liked the car for its anonymity.
Long white limousines had become the most unnoticed vehicles in the city. He was waiting on the sidewalk now, Torval, bald and no-necked, a man whose head seemed removable for maintenance.
“Where?” he said.
“I want a haircut.”
“The president’s in town.”
“We don’t care. We need a haircut. We need to go crosstown.”
“You will hit traffic that speaks in quarter inches.”
“Just so I know Which president are we talking about?”
“United States. Barriers will be set up,” he said. “Entire streets deleted from the map.”
“Show me my car,” he told the man.
What do you guys think? Did you see this scene or another? Let us know in the comments.
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