1 swell paragraph from Joan Didion

Swam through Joan Didion’s “South and West,” scattered notes and essays (mostly about visiting the south) and came across this gem. For me basically confirms why she’s the best:

Outside Hattiesburg we stopped at a Cafe-Gas-Truck Stop to get a sandwich. A blond girl with a pellagra face stood sullenly behind the cash register, and a couple of men sat in a booth. Behind the counter was a woman in a pink Dacron housedress. No flicker of expression crossed her classic mountain face, and her movements were so slow as to be hypnotic. She made a kind of ballet of scooping ice into a glass. Behind her a soft-ice-cream machine oozed and plopped, and every now and then ice cubes would fall in the ice machine. Neither she nor the girl nor the two men spoke during the time we were there. The jukebox played “Sweet Caroline.” They all watched me eat a grilled-cheese sandwich. When we went back out into the blazing heat one of the men followed us and watched as we drove away.

-“On the Road from Biloxi to Meridian”

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