Friday, May 31, 1996
Here it is 11:30 or so on a Saturday night, andI’m sitting here at a Pentium using Windows 95 (I suppose that’s a given) and wondering what I’m going to do with this document after I finish typing for the night. I suppose I could figure out the printer. I wonder if I can remember how to delete documents on an IBM (and on a Macified one at that). (Microsoft Word doesn’t seem to like the word “Macified.” It’s got it underlined in red squiggles.)
I’ve been sitting at a computer monitor more or less all day, so this isn’t really relaxing at the moment. But I’ve also been mentally composing stuff, so having the chance to put it down on “paper” is nice, typing what I want to type instead of endless authors and book titles like my fingers have been pecking all day. That seems to be my current job description, along with making labels bearing Library of Congress numbers and sticking them onto the spines of hundreds of books. Ken Myers has an incredible personal library; there are more than 15 thousand entries in his computer list, which includes periodicals and articles. And they’re all books I’d love to read, so to keep from getting distracted is going to be quite a battle.
The books are housed in a smaller building across the patio from his house, where Ken lives with his wife Kate and their two kids: Susanna (age11) and Jonathan (age 9), I think. The building also serves as his studio, where he interviews people and makes copies of backlog tapes. He performed an interview yesterday with someone over the phone but in anotherstudio. Theytape both ends of the conversation and then mix them together, so it doesn’t sound like one of them is on the phone. He took off for Washington, D. C. today to give a commencement address for 5 graduating seniors from a church school and do an interview.
Today was my second day on the job. I arrived Wednesday late in the afternoon in time to accompany Ken on some errands he had to run. He bought me a nice swivelchair to workin (I tested it out by spinning as fast as I could) and a trash can. We went to Pizza Hut andmet the rest of his family there. Susanna and Jonathan homeschool, and they’d just finished a unit and its tests, so they got to go out to eat AND bring their books. Normally they’re not allowed to read when eating out or when other people are present. I resigned myself to eating whatever was presented; I don’t want to be difficult. So I consumed pepperoni and sausage.
My eating habits seem to be shot. For instance, I ate a ham and cheese sandwich today. Kate fixes me lunch, and I eat with her and the kids. Today we talked about fiction while Susanna and Jonathan read at the table. Jonathan was on his second book since Pizza Hut. He seems to enjoy a cheese sandwich everyday, without the crusts, of course. If potato chips are available, he’ll place then inside and crush them between the slices of wheat bread. Susanna eats one with chicken noodle soup, propping her book up against the bowl. They bargain with their mother concerning how many pickles each can have.
The two kids are a hoot. Susanna was out catching butterflies with a net she made out of cheese cloth, a coat hanger, and a stick. Whenever she’d catch one, she’d bring it in a plastic milk carton and show it to me in t
mhe office where I was working, informing me of its name as near as she could ascertain from the Audobon Socie’s butterfly identification book. Jonathan caught a feisty green bug with huge mandibles with his bare fingers and a gigantic bee of some sort in a jar, but he wouldn’t hold Stalin. Having a conversation with them is always entertaining. They have the vocabulary of graduate students, but their sentences are punctuated with wild whoops and yells and grotesque facial expressions.
Well, I about to crash here, so I’ll see if I can save this. The couple I staying with just left town for the weekend, so I here by myself with a girl named Alice, who’s taking some 6 hour finance certification test tomorrow. I think I’ll sleep in.