It was fifty degrees in Orlando today, so every smart person stayed inside. Bob sat in his room watching a newsman stand in the snow. I sat in the hotel lobby watching a middle-aged man watching a newsman stand in the snow. I’m not sure if either of us enjoyed ourselves, but my sentence was longer.
Later that afternoon, I sat in the jacuzzi reading “The Library of Babel,” which ends like this:
"I venture to suggest this solution to the ancient problem: The Library is unlimited and cyclical. If an eternal traveler were to cross it in any direction, after centuries he would see that the same volumes were repeated in the same disorder (which, thus repeated, would be an order: the Order). My solitude is gladdened by this elegant hope."
Mar de Plata, 1941.
And so I turned to Jorge Luis Borges, who had insisted on wearing his three piece suit in the hot tub, and said — Jorge, didn’t you know that if you spent all day in the library, everything you wrote would come out covered in dust with a Dewey Decimal number?
Borges pulled the “Aleph” out of his pocket and held it in front of my face, driving me insane for a moment until he placed it gingerly back into his jacket. Borges was blind, you know, so that was a fun little game he liked to play. He went back to making little splashes with his cane.
—Adam, he said, I remember once walking by your father in a hallway at Michigan State — this was long before he had ever thought about having you, of course — and thinking to myself ‘I wish I had a little shit hanging around all the time to let me know when my prose gets dusty.’
The world certainly is an interesting place, wouldn’t you say? One never knows who’s listening.
I started to get out of the jacuzzi, and Borges added — Little Shit, didn’t you know that if you spent all day in your own head, everything you wrote would come out covered in blood with a bit of brain attached?
He started laughing, and I put my shirt back on.
—You should probably take that off, he said. I think you need some sun. I can see you’re whiter than me!
I walked away, and Borges shouted after me — And Little Shit, stop pretending to be Roberto Bolaño!