Picture a calm lake shaded with thick oaks and sticky berry bushes. Picture the shore, an amoeba-like bank with dark algae-covered stones. Picture a private beach, where someone lies on a beach chair reading “The Times.”
A motorboat across the lake from you speeds by pulling a water skier. The boat “tick-tacks” along the glassy surface in an effort to throw the skier, but the skier holds on. The boat speeds up and the skier’s grip tightens, but knuckles soon go white and bending a little too far forward the skier goes down. The boat slows and circles the skier. You can hear shouts and laughter. Moments later a bluish-purple “thumbs up” is waved and “Hit it!”: the skier is up again.
It has driven out of sight by now but you can still hear remnants of joyous shouting, and the fading chug of the engine blows through the leaves, and the plip-plopping of a dying wake pats the shore, where someone sits, quite unchanged, reading “The Times.”