“What good is ‘Hello’?” she said.

She has stopped me in my tracks.  “I’ve always thought it was better than nothing,” I said, “but I could be wrong.”

“What does ‘Hello’ mean?” she said.

And I said, “I had always understood it to mean ‘Hello.’ ”

“Well it doesn’t,” she said. “It means, ‘Don’t talk about anything important.’ It means, ‘I’m smiling but not listening, so just go away.’ ”


I’m experiencing Vonnegut for the first time.  Bluebeard, to be specific.

“Everybody who is alive is a survivor, and everybody who is dead isn’t” I said. “So everybody alive must have the Survivor’s Syndrome. It’s that or death. I am so damn sick of people telling me proudly that they are survivors! Nine times out of ten it’s a cannibal or billionaire!” (p32)

Every few paragraphs in Bluebeard I am hit by a quote or phrase that I want to write down and reference and reread and re-experience.

She said that painters should hire writers to name their pictures for them.

Windsor Blue was a shade of Sateen Dura-Luxe, straight from the can.

“The titles are meant to be uncommunicative,” I said.

“What’s the point of being alive,” she said, “if you’re not going to communicate?


Like the ones above, the passages I love most are making commentary on the norm.  They point out the absurdity of common practices or behaviours that are not usually questioned or examined.  The characters are so comfortable in their lunacy, that they, and the way they are described force me to question my own way of behaving.

I haven’t been able to say “Hello” since, without worrying that I was accidentally wishing someone away.

Kurt, I think I’m going to like you.

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