Socks make for essential packing when visiting château Point Prideaux.
The kitchen and laundry at Point Prideaux are located on the lowest floor, as are the dorms, where, four-to-the-floor, that amorphous mass of humanity known as the staff resides. Each morning sees a transition take place – a deposition, from gas to solid – as the staff makes its way up any one of the two staircases that lead to the upper floors, and in turning to its tasks and in attending to its roles, the staff becomes, for the duration of a shift at least, perceptible to the guests, human-like, palpable.
As soon as these workers leave the upper levels, however – at the end of a shift, say, or to fetch more towels – their signals promptly begin to attenuate, and before long, it’s as if they never existed. They become as paper towns (不是小说), fictitious and phantomesque. Well, “phantomesque” in the eyes of the guests, that is; to the members of the staff, other members of the staff are provable entities, capable of being demonstrated.
But what of the socks? Here in Point Prideaux, 1968, ski season, flush in the middle of... socks are a common word between these two classes of people, between the staff, stretched and flattened into servility, and the guests, puffed up by macrotic processes into walking, talking oedemas.
To the guests at Point Prideaux, a sock hung – always insouciantly – on the doorknob of lowest of the low dorms is a sign that the room is occupied, and will be, necessarily so, for at least the foreseeable. To the staff at Point Prideaux, that same sock is a sign that even here, in Point Prideaux, and even now, 1968, ski season, flush in the middle of... the droit du seigneur must be observed.
Written on Tuesday, 14 January 2020