Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I was recently at the Cape, swimming at Long Pond in Wellfleet, and it reminded me of my first summer there, when Carroll Janis and I took a house on Gull Pond next door to Noam Chomsky. I’m a girl from the suburbs—what do I know?—and turned the car around in their driveway. Literally I backed in and pulled out, slowly—I certainly didn’t screech out, as if screeching were possible on sand and stone, or even the equivalent. Anyway, that afternoon, Chomsky’s wife came and knocked on our screen door. We came out and she said, “Hello, I’m Carol” and I said, “Hello, I’m Carol,” and Carroll said, “Hello, I’m Carroll.” It was not a good beginning. She told us that I’d ruined their driveway, and that it would take several tons of stones to repair. Carroll said his sons would be coming up next week, was there any way we could sift them out? She said no. We went back and forth like this for a while, and then Noam came out and we all went over to the driveway, which didn’t seem so bad to us, but then it wasn’t our driveway. We stood there in silence, looking down at the ruts, until finally the world’s greatest linguist shook his head and said, “Well, that’s life.”

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