Kass says that in this situation Leslie would make herself useful, and make us all feel amateurs, in the nicest possible way, which is true.
The last time I saw Leslie, she was mad at me, but hiding it. We were up impossibly early because I had an appointment to make, and I’d asked Leslie to give me a lift and she’d said yes because she always says yes and then it was hideous o’clock in the morning and she’d been working along all night in the dark on her monitor doing some godawful freelance work, and I was staying on her couch, and she gave me a lift in her awful, medical-lawsuit-required beaten-up car which she couldn’t get rid of because the fucking medical establishment would have gone “look, you see, you’re doing okay, therefore we shouldn’t give you a penny for throwing you into a coma”. And we drove around looking for the Caltrain, and there was a look of such grim determination on Leslie’s face to forgive me for putting her through this, to get through the pain, and to *do a good job*.
And what such good advice came out, concentrated, from that! Leslie gave me and everyone tips about fonts, love affairs, music, etiquette. She ran the drunken sub-committee that decided my daughter’s name one night. She told me what to do in New York; she showed me, by example, how to bear San Francisco.
Leslie didn’t talk much about the terrible shit that kept. on. happening. to her. I got the sense that this was because she didn’t want anyone else hurt, even by merely the retelling of it: the death of her husband, loss of her domain, her apartment burning down. You could piece it all together, if you of were determined. She didn’t hide anything, but she didn’t want to tell that kind of story. She wanted to tell stories of optimism and beauty, and they would have to wait. In the meantime, forgiveness, grim determination, getting through, doing a good job. Marking time, until the good times came, and then seizing on them like a joyous animal hid there in the dark.