Tara and Eggs are in no mood when Maryann comes in with a giant basket full of veggies, humming to herself and laughing. "Oh my goodness, how much did you drink this time?" Tara's moving pretty slow; they are covered in bruises and can't remember anything."You must've dropped a little acid, it was floating around." Her voice has arms akimbo: "Hippies!" Eggs gets pissy, and Tara says they're embarrassed by the blackout. "I will never understand that," Maryann says, offended. "Why be embarrassed about pleasure, and laughter? Why be ashamed of letting go?"
Tara says she's ashamed because she's never been this out of control, and Maryann makes a cute gagging sound: "Ack, ugh! Control! Control is just a cage this stupid culture uses to lock up who we really are. We need to be out of control, we crave it." They realize she's trying to teach them more of her crazy teachings, and Tara says that at some point you need some kind of control, or else it's chaos. "Sounds good to me!" It does. Eggs allows as how he does like a little chaos, and she laughs sweetly, flipping again like a Kandinsky; she puts her arms on his shoulders motheringly, but she's talking to Tara: "Of course you do. Everybody does. They just can't admit it."
And knowing where this was heading, I realized I've been working from a particular collection of mental things that maybe I haven't been completely transparent about, because I make assumptions. Thing number one is, Donna Tartt was 19 when she transferred to Bennington and met Bret Ellis, and she published The Secret History in 1992, when I was 14. I knew the story of how she'd ignited this mad bidding war and all that stuff, and since that was my plan, I knew that I had to read this book, so I walked across the highway to a B. Dalton and bought it. It was like the first book I ever waited for.
I read it maybe ten times that year. It is awesome. It's about a class of five well-dressed Classics majors who are like whatever is on the other side of steampunk and they talk in Greek all the time and act like Leopold and Loeb and are generally disaffected and amazing. They do a rite to Dionysus, and it works, and the whole book is about the before and after and the ramifications of that. Snakes climb up the trees, there are columns of fire. I was young enough that I was still like a sponge, you know when you're a teenager you read things and get obsessed with things, and you... Like, I haven't listened to Nevermind since probably 1994, but I still know the words to the whole thing. I can still remember entire paragraphs of that book, and I've read it so many times at this point it takes about an hour to get through. And she sent me off into classics and linguistics and TS Eliot and basically everything I still like.