Odds and ends

3 Jul

When I volunteered at a nursing home in high school, nobody really told me what to do. Except: always open with the weather. A benign subject that everyone can rejoice and grimace about collectively. It worked. Mostly. Since then, I try to not bring up the weather unless it is absolutely necessary. Because I associate the subject with old-person talk. Denture discussion. Following that caveat: today’s weather was as erratic as that donkey placed smack in the middle of two equal servings of hay. Sun, clouds, hot, sticky, dry, rain, RAIN, sun. I don’t know. New York, why? It makes choosing outerwear and shoes difficult.

Anyway. Work was fine today (Thursday is my newspaper marketing job, so it’s totally in office). Even fun. I saw the results of my postcard design, which was thrilling and different. But I thought work was ending at 3 because the office supposedly closed then. But it didn’t. Which is good, because I got to work longer (and get paid more). But bad, because I didn’t take a break for lunch when I assumed I was leaving early. So I went straight through. And afterwards went to the seaport (yay!) with friends, watching the ships sway. The tempestuous water riled up the few ships, causing masts to teeter. The sun set. Etc etc etc.

Oh! While I was at work today, I discovered the White House posted a guide to the salaries of its staffers. Top dogs—Gibbs, Emmanuel, Axelrod—are raking in $172,000 annually. Fine. Attorneys and counselors make about $100 thousand. Okay. Scrolling through, pay looks good. Then I found someone described as “writer” who was making $40,000. Sad.

Also, I find myself between books once again. This state is abstractly promising and liberating. What to read next? But I prefer immersion in a novel’s world to the indecision of choosing what to move onto. Starting a book usually feels more like a non-committal dipping of toes than a plunge. Or even a cannonball. Momentum depends on so much. I finished On Chesil Beach while waiting to meet up with friends and avoiding the rain. While the book is disappointing in its singularity, and temporally topical in its central conflict, the close zoom on the couple is refreshing (and perhaps begs for readers to consider the story parodic?). I appreciate McEwan’s sympathy—he elevates subject matter that would be crassly described by other writers as, ‘they marry, she’s frigid, he’s horny.’

I think I’ve gone through all the McEwan books I own. I’m going to start On Beauty next. Happy 4th!

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