Alex took the day off…

Alex took the day off yesterday, though he did keep getting calls from work. He's a trader on Wall Street -- despite numerous explanations, I still don't really understand what he does. What I do know is that he's actually getting kind of rich; that's a little strange, given that when I met him he was a starving grad student. (Not literally starving, but not eating right either. :-)

He's spending today looking at houses on the Jersey Shore; he rents an apartment in Times Square, but he's thinking of buying a house too; a place to go on weekends, and where his mother can come and stay when she's visiting him and her friends in New York. It's a little disconcerting; in the last year, Kirsten and Arthur both bought houses; Ellie and Ian too. Strange, thinking about the paths to adulthood that people take -- right now, I have only the vaguest desire to someday own a house. I'm perfectly content to have a landlord dealing with the broken dishwasher and the leaky shower. Of course I've got a good landlord; that makes all the difference. It's so nice to call him in the morning with a problem, and then come home from school and find it fixed. It's like magic. :-)

We had a really nice day yesterday. Talked a little when I arrived, but then I collapsed and slept from 8 - noon, bringing my sleep total up to 6 hours; enough to get by on. Around 1-ish I got dressed and we headed out for brunch; savory and sweet crepes at a nice little place about seven blocks up Broadway. We lingered over tea until after 3, then walked up a little further, to a large Barnes & Noble. I found their copies of AE and signed them; always fun, and it means they can't give 'em back, though that wasn't really so likely. Still, I find it really delightful that these days I can walk into most major bookstores and find my name on a book. A book is better than a house, I think. I realize most people wouldn't agree with me, though -- including my mother.

I talked Alex into picking up Michelle West's Hunter's Oath; I'm going to get him hooked on this series too. The first two are a little weak, but then they get so good -- if you like long epic fantasy, that is. Which he does. I picked up a couple of books too; Nicholson Baker's U and I (a memoir/tribute to Updike), and Nabokov's Speak, Memory -- both books that I've been meaning to read for a while. We lingered some more then in the coffeeshop, over hot chocolate this time. While there, I witnessed an odd altercation; a grey-haired little woman startled yelling at a young East Asian man (with "med student" written all over him) because he had his books on the table and she didn't have room to sit down with her drink and books. I've seen people get stressed at students before, in crowded bookstore coffeeshops, but this poor guy was at a tiny little table; he really wasn't being unreasonable in how much of it he was using. She yelled for a while, and when the cafe dude came over to calm her down, she loudly asked if she was the only one who got angry at this sort of behavior -- Who was with her?! About three people (out of fifty or so) raised their hands, and when she asked it again, clearly unsatisfied with our response, another woman hollered out, "Lady, we're all with him!" There was a loud murmur of agreement, but that didn't faze her. Eventually, she sat down at the table with him, and he put some of his books on the floor, looking utterly embarrassed. Poor kid.

We eventually meandered back to Alex's, after a long talk, mostly about fantasy novels. Thai food at Pongsri (across the street from Alex's, recommended) for dinner; tasty yellow curry (with sweet potato; I really need to try currying sweet potatoes myself; I like 'em, and I don't think they have them in Sri Lanka. I bet if I mixed sweet potatoes, yams, and normal potatoes in my regular curry, it'd be pretty tasty. Worth an experiment). Then we went to see a show! Alex took me to see Rent, which I've been wanting to see for a while. The first half was great (though the music was loud enough that it was more than usually difficult to make out the words). The song that ended that act, about the bohemian life, was lots of fun. The second half...oof, what a downer. I was sobbing, and the thing is, it's supposed to be sad, but not depressing, I think. But we both found it kind of depressing, and had to stop at another bookstore on the way home to cheer up. :-) Worked -- hooray for bookstores! Came home, talked a little, collapsed. Long, fun day.

This morning he left before I woke up; I got up around 8:30, got dressed, caught a cab to the train station. Now I'm comfortably typing on the train -- my only complaint is that the tray table is a little high, making this not as ergonomic as I'd like. Aside from that, though, I think I could comfortably work on the train (which has outlets at every seat on this coast) for hours, or days. I ought to revise my paper; I decided to work a little more on it, to try to clean up that bobble I noted the other day. But first I'm going to read, I think. I finished Lying, and started the Baker. So far, very good; he can be really compelling. It's a little surreal reading all these writers talking about writing, though. They're all so self-conscious; I think pretty soon I'm going to need a dose of some good old adventure fiction or some such -- lots of action, no thinking. :-)

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