Wednesday, August 12, 2009


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.


Care said...

What a delight to read this gentle rant! Glad it ended with books and may everything work out well.

jgodsey said...

i'm jealous of this post.

Anonymous said...

You are a hoot! Reading about your book adventures is not only always informative but also downright fun. Few book bloggers have your wit, humor, and writing talent. Thanks for sharing it all with us readers! I always look forward to my "daily dose" . . . .

Kathleen said...

I love how you keep your sense of humor even while having a crazy day! Your post made me smile and reminded me that I can find something funny when I have a challenging day too. Hope the book with snow in the title helps you feel cooler!

Jeane said...

Sounds like rough times. When we moved into our house it had been vacant for over 6 months, and the roaches were happy to have new providers. Just thinking about them makes my skin crawl. Books are a wonderful distraction from your troubles- and those sound like good ones!

Sue F. said...

Love the post and sure hope that all the problems work out positively and quickly for you!

Glad to know that you are among those that books can soothe!

Charles said...

In my city the housing slump has hit fairly hard. The house next door has sat unsold and empty for a year and a half, the house next to that was just purchased a couple of months ago after being on the market and empty for at least a year. The man at the do-it-yourself bug store said that's probably a big reason we now have a bug problem after 35 years in our house without that kind of problem. It's not as bad as yours sounds, though.

On the plus side, I got a nearly brand new, special edition of "Ben Hur" at a local thrift shop for a dollar. Also for a dollar, a book containing three novels by Rumer Godden. I'm betting not too many people have heard of her.

Carrie K said...

Well then, whew! Glad you made it to the library in time. Only you could make suffering so amusing.

ambearo said...

I hope things get better soon!! Good luck staying away from the cult member. They used to love me when I lived in Seoul. Maybe let them know I've gone back to Canada and they'll leave you alone? ^^

Susan said...

Oh, book-twin! I'm so glad some books could ease you, because $40 buck for two weeks is a lot of noodles, isn't it! and the roaches - ew, we just saw some at a tiny reptile show at our local pool, and they were creepy. Humidity - here too - we're so hot we lie around and take showers and are sweating 5 mins later - so there is nothing, but nothing like curling up and reading a good book to take your mind off things, and i'm glad you found some good ones to take home! happy reading, book-twin. And may the Moonie find someone else to latch on. That is creepy.

Bybee said...

Well, the toilet's fixed now, so things are looking so much rosier.

Well, I'm always jealous of your whole blog, so there!

Blush and blush. Can you get my mom to read my blog????

Really, when it piles up like that it can't help but be a little funny.

I think the roaches are coming up through the drains...the worst concentrations are in the bathroom and the kitchen area. Shudder time.

Sue F.
Books are like a pacifier for adults.

Great thrift score! I read a children's book by Rumer Godden and one of her adult books called Five For Sorrow, Ten For Joy about a woman who was (I think) a prostitute or lived some kind of dissipated existence and she was taken in by some nuns and became one herself and was so happy with her life change. Demi Moore and Bruce Willis must be familiar iwth Godden because they named one of their daughters after her.

Bybee said...

Carrie K,
It was amusing because I believe in editing...the first sentences I put down were slightly inarticulate. The part about my stalker still reads a little muddy.

She's not acting really religious, she just said she's from Sun Moon. She wants to be my BFF, she asked me 25x about my age and marital status, reached over and picked at the roots of my hair and exclaimed "Oh, hair is SO white!" and she's sporting round-rimmed glasses with no lenses in the frames. She was carrying a copy of Huck Finn, so points for that, I guess.

If we must swelter, let's put our heads together and figure out a really kickin place to do it in next summer.

Charles said...

I hadn't heard of "Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy." I'll see if I can find it somewhere.

Jeane said...

Yes, we had problems only in the bathroom and kitchen, too. There seemed to be a lot living under/behind the stove, too. A combination of putting out roach poison, keeping the kitchen immaculately clean (not my best thing), bleaching my counters every night and vacuuming w/baking soda in the carpets helped a lot. Haven't seen any in ages, now.