Moby-Dick marathon, part 2

New Bedford Whaling Museum

2:55 a.m. Chapter 78. 1 man reading, 4 spectators wide awake and sitting upright, 4 spectators asleep and lying down (one snoring too audibly), 3 volunteer staff, 7 readers awaiting their turn to read.

I had awakened suddenly at 2:35 a.m. “Want to go over?” I had asked Carol; amazingly she had come awake enough to reply rationally (she’s a very sound sleeper); “No, I don’t need to go,” she had said. “Guess I don’t either,” I had said. But I couldn’t get back to sleep, light sleeper that I am, and over I came.

Two of the sleeping spectators have come awake. I assume that these eight are the ones who, this year, are staying for the whole marathon reading of Moby-Dick. The young woman Carol spoke with last night is one of them, now attired in pajamas and bathrobe. Two more spectators have come awake. Less formality at this hour: the spectators who are awake whisper among themselves now and then.

A new reader, a good one, who manages to make chapter 79 lively. In spite of his good reading I’m definitely sleepy. Plus I think the snoring behind me is having a soporific effect.

Chapter 80 describes the whale’s vertebrae, and I look up at the skeletons hanging from the ceiling above me. I find Melville’s descriptions of whale vertebrae to be fanciful.

One of the spectators is asked by a volunteer to read (presumably a reader has slept through his or her alarm). He reads with real passion of the chase and the harrassment of the great old Sperm Whale in chapter 81; and when he’s done I head home to return to bed.