Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 509
One of the things that Calypso touches on often is how perceptions change as you get older. David Sedaris's mother died when she was sixty-two, and it had a profound impact on him. He didn't think he would live much longer than she did. Ultimately, though, that's not the case. As he approaches the age, he realizes how young it actually is. He says:
I made up my mind eons ago that I would not let that happen, that I would also die at sixty-two. Then I hit my midfifties and started thinking that perhaps I'm being a bit harsh. Now that I've scored a couple of decent guest rooms, it seems silly not to get a little more use out of them.
The guest rooms he's referring to are in the house that he and his husband, Hugh, purchased on the Carolina coast; he likes to invite his family down to stay.
Sedaris and Hugh have been together for more than thirty years. Sedaris waits until that point to ask his husband how many other people he's been with, sexually: he isn't ready for the answer. As Hugh starts counting on his fingers and gets into the thirties, Sedaris gets anxious. He says:
Every man ticked off on his fingers was someone I'd been compared to at one point or another, not overtly—he's anything but cruel—but surely it happened. Someone kissed better than I did. Someone had more stamina, a more seductive voice. Bigger muscles. I'm confident enough to compete against a dozen of his exes, but he was moving on to the population of a small town.
He's peeved at the end of the chapter, but his love for his husband is clear—even when he calls him a whore. Throughout his written works, Sedaris talks about Hugh's handsomeness, his talent, and how he takes care of everything for them.
Sedaris thinks about the dead a lot in Calypso. Part of that is a consequence of getting older—as you get older, more and more people you know eventually die. Part of this preoccupation with death has to do with his sister Tiffany, who recently committed suicide. Amy, another one of his sisters, talks to a psychic who claims to be able to speak to the dead. Sedaris says:
What troubled me most about Amy's talk with the psychic was the notion that the dead are unsettled. That they linger. I said to Lisa at the beach that Thanksgiving, "If they can see us from wherever they are, what's to stop them from watching us on the toilet?"
Sedaris says that, if he could communicate with his dead sister, he would ask her whether he could have his money back that he loaned her. His interactions and thoughts of the dead are often casual, almost as if he is imagining speaking to them as if they are still alive. He dreams of his mother and talks to her as if he's speaking to her spirit—but he doesn't seem to sincerely believe in psychic abilities.