Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Dreary things


I was back at the library after many days off. I was having lunch, which was a salad, with blue cheese, tomatoes, and roasted seeds, sunflower seeds in honor of Ukraine. While I ate I listened to a recorded book of Rex Stout, featuring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. I have been listening to a lot of recorded books through the library app known as Libby. This particular book is hilarious not just because Nero Wolfe books are hilarious, but because the recording is taken from the old Books on Tape recordings, and in translating the book to a downloadable digital format they didn't even bother to edit out the prompts to turn over the tape. So I'll be listening along to the account of a series of murders involving a popular radio show and their sponsors (already retro to the era of the cassette tape), when the voice breaks in and says "This concludes side one of tape three. Please turn over the tape at this time and begin the tape at the same place on the other side."

There were periods in the nineties where I listened to those books on tape regularly, enough so that the instruction is Pavlovian, and I have to resist scrambling for my phone to turn over the cassette, which only exists as a vestigial figment, like the feeling of a lost arm. 

"No, just wait it out." I tell myself. "The story will start again all on its own."

I like to post pretty pictures here in clerkmanifesto. In 15 minutes I'm even heading out in my neighborhood to try and find some more pretty pictures, if I can. But the truth is that there is plenty of America that's aesthetically dismal. Where I sat against a window in the breakroom of my library, eating my salad, listening to the book on tape on phone, my view was of a drive-through drop off lane, through dirty windows, and peering out into the usual vast parking lot which most institutions in America specialize in.

I didn't mind too much. It was ugly, but I appreciated the natural light of it all, and my book, and the time to myself. I took a few pictures of it to show you my unglamorous world. 

But as soon as I had done that, I couldn't help but make a couple small improvements.


  1. I'm back, that is, back on gmail and blogger. I got a new laptop at the first of the month, and it's taken me this long to find everything that matters on it. I would find my way to something, the blog for example. I'd write down the steps I took to get to it. Then I'd get online the next morning--and the steps wouldn't work. But at the moment, well, so far, so good.

    Your embellishments definitely improve the scenes from the library.

    The pictures I've been looking at are of my St. Paul house, where I lived for 40 years. It's on the market again, less than two years from when I sold it. So of course there are a whole bunch of pictures. I like scrolling through them and trying to figure out all the changes. And marvel at the fact its listed as having 2 bathrooms. The second one is a half-bath in the basement. And they seem to have a bedroom in the basement, which (unless they've added an egress) isn't legal. Part of the reason I moved is that I couldn't keep up with maintenance and such. It's both fun and weird to see how it looks now. Want to see it? Zillow 932 Iowa Ave West.

    1. I am not sure who you are stretch (though I have a good guess I think), but welcome back! Honestly, it's a nice house, but it selling for over 300,000 dollars just makes the whole country seem crazy and broken. But I guess I won't get going on our insane land use and
      twisted zoning (or maybe I won't go any further).

      We moved out of our house maybe not because we couldn't keep up with the maintenance, but more because we despised it so much.


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