And today the sun is shining and the temperature has shot up to 60° F. I went across the Ile de la Cité to meet my niece for a quick lunch after she arrived from the South and went to work. She commutes to Paris a couple days every couple of weeks. We exchanged family news—how her boys enjoyed their stays (to learn English) in Canada and England, respectively, last summer, her no longer so-new job.
Taking it easy today: the phone rang after I fell asleep, around midnight (?) and I couldn’t stop thinking about all the possible catastrophes someone was calling me in the middle of the night about. “Midnight Phone Call’—a good poem title? I didn’t feel better until I checked my email this morning and discovered no middle-of-the-night emergencies and nothing on the answering machine, which I barely know how to use—well, I did find some old messages, but from people I’ve talked to since they left their messages.
While I ate supper I read (something I was always, as a child, forbidden, no doubt wisely, to do, even if I was alone—but did I eat alone as a teenager?—but which has since become a perverse pleasure) an article in the New Yorker by George Packer about the US Republican Party, which concludes with a reference to Arthur Koestler’s novel about the 30s Moscow Show Trials, Darkness at Noon. I’d like to read that, I thought, and I thought I’d just peek on the bookshelves and see if there was a copy. Indeed—several books by Koestler, in French and English—including a Penguin Darkness at Noon, with my maiden name in block letters in red ink on the title page. So, presumably, I’ve read it? Well, I guess that’s why it’s good to have bookshelves. I’m glad I thought to look before I went to the secondhand bookshop on rue Monsieur le Prince and bought someone else’s old copy.