In the heart of the heart of the country, Purity “Pip” Tyler was on her knees in front of a toilet, sifting through the soggy logs of her own fecal matter, wishing she could be anywhere else, doing anything else, particularly birdwatching. Like her great grandparents, who had moved to the Midwest a century earlier in search of cheap, arable land and found themselves nearly stamped out of existence by The Depression, Pip fashioned herself an amateur ornithologist. In her earliest memories, power lines sagged into smiles beneath the many tiny weights of sparrows, backfiring trucks sent a flock of warblers winding into the sky. In her family, birdwatching was tradition. Her great grandparents, once they’d somewhat established themselves in Hoover’s America, spent weekends spying wrens in Appalachia. Her grandparents took bus tours down the Pacific Coast, searching, her own mother and father spent every summer crisscrossing New England in a Winnebago, their enormous binoculars trained on the trees. Like all children unwittingly do, she had inherited other,
Purity in Oakland MONDAY "Oh pussycat, I'm so glad to hear your voice," the girl's mother said on the telephone. "My body is betraying me again. Sometimes I think my life is nothing but one long process of bodily betrayal." "Isn't that everybody's life?" the girl, Pip, said. She'd taken to calling her mother midway through her lunch break at Renewable Solutions. It brought her some relief from the feeling that she wasn't suited for her job, that she had a job that nobody could be suited for, or that she was a person unsuited for any kind of job; and then, after twenty minutes, she could honestly say that she needed to get back to work.