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I didn't want to start an argument. "Okay," I said. Then I thought of something, all of a sudden. "Hey, listen," I said. "You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any chance?" I realized it was only one chance in a million.
He turned around and looked at me like I was a madman. "What're ya tryna do, bud?" he said. "Kid me?"
"No—I was just interested, that's all."
He didn't say anything more, so I didn't either. Until we came out of the park at Ninetieth Street. Then he said, "All right, buddy. Where to?" (9.4-7)
Holden isn’t just obsessed with his mortality or his brother’s mortality—he’s obsessed with the idea that everything dies. No wonder he can’t make friends.
The first thing I did when I got off at Penn Station, I went into this phone booth. I felt like giving somebody a buzz […] but as soon as I was inside, I couldn't think of anybody to call up. My brother D.B. was in Hollywood. My kid sister Phoebe […] was out. Then I thought of giving Jane Gallagher's mother a buzz […]. Then I thought of calling this girl […] Sally Hayes. […] I thought of calling […] Carl Luce. […] So I ended up not calling anybody. I came out of the booth, after about twenty minutes or so. (9.1)
You just know that Holden’s Facebook newsfeed is empty: one by one, he’s blocked every single one of his friends for saying something “phony.” (We get it. Ours clears out pretty fast, too, at least during an election cycle.)
"Well – take me to the Edmont then," I said. "Would you care to stop on the way and join me for a cocktail? On me, I'm loaded." (9.10)
Holden is so desperate for someone to talk to that he tries inviting the cabbie out for a drink, which… is actually kind of sweet. These days you can’t even get a cab driver off his cell phone long enough to make an invite.