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It’s been an irritating week: The toilet broke down; the entire Korean roach kingdom has decided that I’ve got swell digs; my computer at work has a virus; I’ve got approximately $40 to live on till payday in 2 weeks; it’s been raining and nastily humid so I’m drenched all the time one way or another and the laundry always feels clammy and damp even after three days of drying; I’m being stalked by a 39-year-old woman who says she’s a student from nearby Sun Moon University (founded by the same guy who founded the Moonies) and my dreams of an easy, early menopause are not only eluding me, they’re openly sneering.

All of it is nothing that amounts to a hill of beans in this crazy world, and luckily, I understand. Everything’s temporary — the toilet and the computer will be fixed, payday will come, the roaches will decamp when the students move back in and with a little patience, the weather and I will see big changes.

The stalker doesn’t seem like she’s going to go gentle into that good night (or at least, back to Sun Moon University) — she found me and pounced when I went into the library for a cocktail of air-conditioning and shelf-medication on Monday — but I’ve since located a side entrance where I can sneak right past her and directly into the stacks. Which is what I did today. Once I was there and breathing in the book dust, the palliative effect kicked right in. I took four books and feel so much better:

1. The Moon and Sixpence – W. Somerset Maugham. Another try for this one; I didn’t get it read when I checked it out last spring.

2. The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories – Ernest Hemingway. Maybe it’ll cool me off to read something with “Snows” in the title.

3. Howards End – E.M. Forster. I haven’t read anything by Forster for more than 20 years now, and I liked the look of this Longman Cultural Edition.

4. Some Champions: Sketches & Fiction – Ring Lardner. I’m interested in Lardner because he’s from that group of humorists that included Robert Benchley and Dorothy Parker. I glanced at the foreword by his son, Ring Lardner, Jr. Not-so-fun-fact: Lardner died when he was 48. I’ll be 48 in a few months. (Aaaargh. I did this last summer, except with Edith Piaf.)

No, I really didn’t need more reading material but yes, I would have been a snot-slinging, tear-streaked mess by nightfall if I hadn’t visited my library this afternoon.

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