Gotham Diary:
Erythromycin
7 October 2011

Why am I so tired? I’m ao drowsy and lackluster that I can’t think why I should be so tired. I can’t think,. Then I remember that I forgot to take a pill. I’m on a course of antibiotics, to clear up a patch of infected skin. I take the pill, and my mind curls up like an old dog by the fire.  

But first, I have a banana, so that there is something in my stomach, and that gets me to thinking about bananas, which, I read the other day, come naturally equipped with seeds the size of small stones. We don’t see naturally equipped bananas up here, of course; we see bunches of an asexual cultivar called the Cavendish, I believe, that has fallen victim to a blight in Central America, where most bananas are grown. We don’t see the blighted bananas, either. We see more expensive bananas, although I haven’t been paying attention to that. I have dropped the habit of starting the day with a banana, just as I’ve given up reading the Times first thing. Writing here is what I do first thing now, and then I have a bowl of Grape Nuts, or an English muffin with marmalade (not butter). By eleven, I’m starving again, and it only occurred to me the other day why this is the case. Thanks to Lunesta, I’ve been drinking about half as much wine as I was going through before the sleeping pill, and my body still craves those calories. I have to tell myself that the hunger is “simulated.” My stomach is not in pain. I am in pain. And I have to soldier through it. Happily, the hunger is unaccompanied by appetite; there’s nothing that I particularly want to eat. As with antibiotics, I find it difficult to think straight during these hunger pangs.

After the movies this morning (I plan to see The Ides of March, even though Anthony Lane found it disappointing), I hope to write a few more words about Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods, with a view to composing a new page for Civil Pleasures. That is what I would like to do with my afternoon. Let’s see if I have my way, he said, envying Geroge I, whose biography he is almost done with, and who didn’t always have his own way, either, especially in his favorite field, which was foreign affairs — speaking of which, why weren’t we taught about the Great Northern War (1700-1721) in school, at all?