This week I teach for two days, edit in the interstices, and drive and drive. And today: in the morning, bread baking and bathroom cleaning; in the afternoon, band practice. But what I am presently doing is sitting here in this house of books and fretting because I have nothing to read.
So I open the New York Review of Books to see if the Fates will send me a potent retort, and what I get is this:
MWM, MID-50s, SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL, NYC area seeks MF, MWM . . . I've been married a long time--and, unfortunately, there's not much fun and excitement left in it. I'd love to compare notes with a woman in a similar situation . . . and, in particular, with an intelligent and sensitive woman who loves to craft thoughtful e-mails on a regular basis. Perhaps if we first became good pen pals, we could decide to meet. But first . . . let's just write. About me: I'm a lawyer, Ivy educated, reasonable looks. [The ellipses are his. God only knows what they're supposed to indicate.]Yes, I believe this does require me to craft a thoughtful response.
Thank you for your quick response to my query. While I appreciate your skillful attempt to lure me by way of flattery ("intelligent and sensitive woman") and my writing habit, I just want to make it clear that I'd rather choke on a chicken bone than become the pen pal of a self-satisfied boor who has spent close to 6 dollars a word to publicly demean his wife in hopes of engaging in epistolary footsie with a complete stranger. Please, please, find someone else to correspond with, dear lonely, conflicted, hopeful MFs and MWMs.
Ugh. Try again, Fates.
So the Fates tried again, and this is what they have given me--the last stanza of Vikram Seth's poem "Through Love's Great Power":
To undo justice, and to seek
To quash the rights that guard the weak--
To sneer at love, and wrench apart
The bonds of body, mind and heart
With specious reason and no rhyme:
This is the true unnatural crime.
Much better, Fates. Thank you.