Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Forty-Minute Lunch
We already know from an earlier chapter that Jules suffers from bipolar disorder, and this was perhaps his first serious episode.
‘Bipolar disorder affects your energy level, judgment, memory, concentration, appetite, sleep patterns, sex drive, and self-esteem’http://www.helpguide.org/mental/bipolar ... atment.htm
We know he has been getting steadily worse for quite a while – his friend Atticus is puzzled by a series of uncharacteristic ‘bizarre’ failures. He detests interviewing celebrities, he thinks of Kitty as a ‘snooze’ a bore – yet at a later time he will jump at the chance to write the story of the overweight and cancer riddled Bosco’s suicide tour.
Kitty seems to continually remind him of a better version of his ex girl friend. His own personality has become so alien to him that he thinks ‘I would like nothing more than to understand the strangeness of Kitty’s world – to burrow inside that strangeness never to emerge.’ His own world has become totally fragmented.
He is very concerned with food and appetite – bipolar victims often suffer fluctuations in appetite, which is also a substitute for sexual appetite. He describes the waiter, Kitty, and his own personalities as ‘sandwiches’ – an apt description of his own disintegrating persona.
He jams food into his mouth, speaks with his mouth full, manages to spray the table with food.
He sees Kitty’s shoulders ‘like two little squabs’ and manages to keep up a semblance of normal conversation while at the same time fantasising about ‘pulling apart all those little bones and sucking the meat off them one by one’.
As they walk to the park, Jules feels ‘kind of dreamy’ - disassociated from reality.
When he realises he has finally ‘connected’ with Kitty, in their conversation about horses, he experiences the contact as ‘revelatory, urgent, as if, in bridging the crevasse between myself and this young actress, I am being lifted above the encroaching darkness.'
Why does Kitty go for a walk with him when he has so obviously terrified her? I think Jules was correct in his earlier judgement – she is a nice person, who even apologised for being part of his break down, while the media and judicial system lost no time in demonising a very sick man.