Just to show you how self’s life has been going of late, she had trouble remembering what her last post was and needed to be reminded: It was Jerry Brown’s State of the State Address, and that was just a few hours ago.
Anyhoo, she decided to treat herself to lunch at Little Madfish in Sequoia Station. This tiny little nook is always busy, especially during lunch hour. Self first took a look through the plate glass window and was encouraged to see two genteel-looking, elderly ladies having lunch within. Thus encouraged, she entered and was seated right next to these two genteel ladies. Which was excellent, because she was able to eavesdrop and heard them discussing a friend whose “breasts were all gone,” and then one of them was planning a trip to Hawaii, and the other was wondering whether she should throw a Superbowl party. Both had British accents, self kids you not.
Self was quite embarrassed to learn, after she had ordered her two-item lunch (Two items is $7.95, with miso soup, green salad, and plain rice; three items is $9.95), that the two ladies were splitting same. It looked tiny, however, and self is sure she could not have split anything with anyone else.
She ordered chicken katsu and avocado roll, and was very surprised to be touched on the shoulder several times by the waitress (She doesn’t think waitresses usually engage in touching of customers’ shoulders. But the restaurant IS tiny, and it WAS very crowded). When the chicken katsu came, self was so confused because it looked and tasted exactly like pork katsu. But she did not complain because she was hungry.
She had with her a Wall Street Journal, just purchased from Barnes & Noble (which started carrying the Wall Street Journal again, after several years of not carrying it). She looked up a novel by Joanna Hershon, and they had no books by this author. She also looked up a biography of John Mortimer (author of the Rumpole books) by Susan Grove and published by Viking, but the bookseller couldn’t find any Barnes and Nobles that carried it, boo. She adored the Rumpole books.
It was slightly cold, but not really chilly.
The man she wanted to help her spray her fruit trees was supposed to come yesterday, but on Tuesday he left a message that he wanted to know first “exactly” what self wanted to have done. So self called him back, and he was having his hair cut at a barber shop and could barely (he said) hear her.
Hmmm, what else? Last night self watched a show called Suburgatory and was laughing so hard because of an impromptu rock act by Ana Gasteyer, performed while wearing what looked like powder-blue PJs.
Then, she got a letter from Anvil Collections saying she owed them $109 for 10 copies of her book, The Lost Language, which had been delivered to Daku Balay in Bacolod and languished there for two months. But of all things, they sent an invoice to Dearest Mum in her house in Ecology. And self really doesn’t blame Dearest Mum for not wanting to pay, since self hasn’t seen her in two years. The letter said she had to pay them TODAY, so self called Anvil in Manila and was very surprised because the man who answered the phone was so slurry of speech.
“Is this Anvil?” self demanded of the man. “Is this Anvil Publishing?”
“Yaaaaah,” the man said, in something like three-quarters time.
“May I speak to your Collections Department?” self asked.
“Yes, ma’am, but — but — ”
“But WHAT? Speak up!” self demanded.
“It is 3 in the morning, ma’am,” the man said. And at that point he really sounded — ill or something.
“Oh!” self said. “So sorry! I must have woken you up!” (Which, come to think of it, makes no sense. Because why would someone be SLEEPING in a publisher’s office, at 3 a.m. Unless he was the janitor and was just catching a few zzzzs)
“Ma’am, can I please have your name and number for Collections to call you back?” he asked.
Surprisingly, this sounded like a very sensible idea. But self found herself hesitating and then said, “Go back to sleep! I’ll call back in a couple of hours!”
Then she put down the phone before the man could come up with any other bright ideas.
Finally — self cannot tell a lie — she had to give up on reading The Collected Stories of J. G. Ballard, which was the next book on her reading list, since she finished Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs late last night (It just sort of petered out; self doesn’t remember what happened in the last 30 pages. Nothing bad happened to anyone! After all that angst! All that anomie and existential alienation and minute parsing of the weather!). The Collected Stories of J. G. Ballard is a behemoth. The first story is called “Prima Belladonna” (Or was it “Bella Primadonna?” Aaargh, self is losing it!) It was written in 1956, and it’s about a woman with “insects for eyes.” It was interesting, but not enough to make self want to push on. Especially since she has a gimpy neck, and it would have been a real grind to keep lugging that 5-lb. hardback around for the next two or three weeks.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.