My Senior Gift Pictorally: To Think About


The Accidental Tourist

          The weather was cold, and the interior of the hall was chilly and bleak.  Macon noticed Susan gaping vacantly at the guide, who wasn’t making his spiel very exciting; so he leaned over and whispered, “Imagine.  George Washington sat in that very chair.”

          “I’m not really into George Washington, Uncle Macon.”

          “Human beings can only go ‘into’ houses, cars, and coffins, Susan.”

          “Huh?”

          “Never mind.”

          They followed the crowd upstairs, through other rooms, but Susan had plainly exhausted her supply of good humor.  “If it weren’t for what was decided in this building,” Macon told her, “you and I might very well be living under a dictatorship.”

          “We are anyhow,” she said.

          “Pardon?”

          “You really think that you and me have any power?”

          “You and I, honey.”

          “It’s just free speech, that’s all we’ve got.  We can say whatever we like, then the government goes on and does exactly what it pleases.  You call that democracy?  It’s like we’re on a ship, headed someplace terrible, and somebody else is steering and the passengers can’t jump off.” pg. 182


From The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler. Copyrighted 1985.

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Last Modified: 13 October 2006 EST