Late afternoon Sun., 19 October 2001
Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. Mr. and Mrs. Birnbaum greet us at the specified meeting place. While Deborah is open and congenial, Simon hangs back, reticent and in obvious discomfort. Pleasantries are exchanged cordially, nevertheless.
The couple is separated. Simon protests, but is calmed by Deborah. Dr. Rigotto and myself remain with the subject. Dr. Gerhart and Dr. Blake take a walk on the strip with Deborah. Bothconversationsare tape-recorded.
Rigotto: Can you clue us in on how you're feeling right now, Simon?
Birnbaum: I haven't the faintest idea what you mean. I've never felt anything before this moment. I know no more than you might discover from looking at me. At the moment, my palms are damp and my back aches--that's all the information I have to give you. You could call it fear, apprehension, exhaustion, whatever. As far as I am presently concerned, I've never heard a sound, never gotten a whiff of any scent. The images I see bear no familiarity. And yet I name them and accept them--I accept you, this place, the water out there, as parts of a novel spectacle. I realize that there must have been a time before this, but it's now vanished. Is that sufficient for you? That is the best I can offer. And the real truth is I'm content to sit here only so long as you explain to me what the hell is going on.