Best books found so far… Mister & Mistress: The Other Woman’s Guide to Etiquette (written in 1939)… Bridge Babies (photos of babies making faces, captioned as though they were playing bridge)… How to Make Love to a Woman (written by some grad student at American University)…

Good-bye to New York City subway tokens. On May 4 they will be no longer be accepted as fare. A short history of the tokens is here in the Gotham Gazette: “As the tokens gained in value, petty criminals devised ingenious if revolting ways to get them. Crooks jammed the coin slot to keep the tokens from falling down. As the commuter walked off indignantly — out a token but unable to get through the gate — the perpetrator would swoop in and suck the token out of the turnstile.”

“Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person (for what would a union be of two people who are unclarified, unfinished, and still incoherent?), it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person.” — Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet; download .pdf file here.

I’ve mulled the same questions about the future so many times that I’m actually sick of hearing my own mind think about them. It’s the questioning itself that’s got me in a trap now, and I’m tired of doubting and wondering and making plans with fifty gajillion alternate futures branching out into infinity. I would like to just quiet down for a bit.

“She has become an expert at confusing what is with what was with what should be with what could be. She avoids mirrors, and lifts a powerful telescope to find herself. She aims it into the sky, and can see, or so she thinks, past the blue, past the black, even past the stars, and back into a different black, and a different blue…” — Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything Is Illuminated

The term “unskilled labor” is really not accurate. I learned that this week. The nonprofit I work for is holding a used book sale as a fundraiser. We collected like 30,000 donated books from people around the city, and now we’re selling them. This means a lot of sorting, packing and moving of books. I found myself using a totally different, and horribly atrophied, portion of my brain. How do you pack books of all different shapes and sizes into one small, falling-apart cardboard box? How do you wheel a dolly into a building without it tipping over as you cross the slightly raised threshold? How do you fold down the flaps on a cardboard box so they interlock and neatly close? How do you work those packing tape dispenser thingies without getting the tape all in a tangle? I swear to you. It is hard. There is much skill involved. Skillz which I do not possess.

I drank about a bottle of orange Gatorade a day last week. For some reason that kind of amused my co-workers. I don’t even like Gatorade. I think I just needed the reassurance…. all those electrolytes will help me lift things.

Family news… My family is in Hawaii. What? Lindsay… aren’t you working this week? In D.C.? Where it has been cold and gray? Yes. Yes I am. Everyone somehow managed to take time off for this vacation, except for me. I called them yesterday at their hotel. My dad told me how they’d been at the beach all day and were planning to go to a pig roast. I tried not to feel sorry for myself. But then, the kicker. He asked, as though just curious and not at all needing the information: “So what day is it? Tuesday….? Wednesday…?”

Hopefully I will be able to write about my weekend in Chicago soon. I am slow. I would also like to write about my weekend with Eliina. She came to visit last Friday, and it was so, so nice. We bought Cadbury Eggs, watched movies on the couch and ate ice cream, drank Vermont beer brewed with apricot, read books in a coffee shop, went to a Lutheran service for Easter, had brunch at Patrick‘s parents’ house, made eggplant parmesian, and basically just enjoyed the sunny weekend.

The greeter at the Lutheran church took her job very seriously. She greeted us super-enthusiastically when we arrived. And as we left after the service, she cornered us outside. “Don’t you want to say good morning to our pastor?” she said cheerily but with raised eyebrows. “No??” Flustered, we went over and shook the pastor’s hand. As we tried to leave again, the greeter grabbed us both by the wrists. “Would you like to sign our guestbook?” I was about to say no, this had gone far enough. Eliina, ever the good girl, backpedaled and signed it.

“There are lots of opportunities you are presented with to work with people you don’t get or don’t get you. The money’s good or the audience is big, but I don’t really care about things like that as much as liking the people I work with.” — Sarah Vowell

Today was Shayna’s 26th birthday. After an evening program at an elementary school, Vim, Maria and I took her out to get food at a diner near my house. We were so, so silly/tired/wired after a long day at work. Shayna said it reminded her of the scene in Swingers, where Vince Vaughn gets up on the table and starts going crazy. No one got up on the table, of course… but there was much singing along to the diner’s eclectic mix of mood music. (Celine Dionne? Bob Seger? Yes.) And much giggling about jokes that really aren’t all that funny in the re-telling. At the time, though, everything was funny… pinkeye (which we may have all contracted from the small children), milkshakes, cows, french fries. The name of our imagined girl band is still appropriate: Mad Chaos.

An overheard snippet of Law & Order:

Thoughtful-sounding Man (whom I’m assuming is talking about a rape victim): She was a good person. She read books. She drew pictures. Why would she dress like that?