June 20, 2002, 9.52 a.m.

It ain't so hard to say, "will you please just go away?"

back & forth

Hummus: For breakfast. First, on a wheat bagel. And then, having run out of bagel, on a granary wheat roll. When I finished that, my Rabelaisian hummuslust yet unslaked, I cleaned the plastic pot it came in with my tongue.

Music: To eat hummus by. Rossini string sonatas on digital radio. Miss Bartoli's recent interest in Gluck and the period instruments revival will, in the fullness of time, result in a fine selection of historically-informed Rossini. Until such time we will have to suffer the Wagnerianizing arrangements of well-meaning but tasteless editors.

Music: To write journal entries by. A recently-acquired vinyl distraction, by soukouss superstar Abéti Masikini (according to the regrettably sparse liner notes, "la dame de fer de la chanson africaine") called Abéti: En colère. It includes two versions of Scandale de Jalousie, Kimbe red pa moli, and, my favorite, Tu es méchant, which is the BEST NAME FOR A SONG EVER. She stands, in a sheer black and gold-beaded blouse trimmed with white ostrich feathers, pointing at the justice of heaven with her blood-lacquered index-finger-nail.

Frustration: to sell a house by. In a few days, my perfugium, my château espagnole en Nouvelle-Angleterre will overswarm with the house-buying public. They will spill things, knock things over, affright the cats into conniptions of vomiting terror, and, not least, probably evict us so they can move in with their evil breakfast-cereal-smelling children.

Jobs: selling subscriptions with a ballet company or else a prominent theater company.

Reading: Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes. "Je vois ici des gens qui disputent sans fin sur la Religion ; mais il semble qu'ils combattent en même temps à qui l'observera le moins." It reminds me of my rather pessimistic opinion that all good sense, wisdom, and humanity probably perished in 1750 or so; certainly, nothing survived the flood of J J Rousseau's tears. Of course I'm lying dreadfully, and don't believe that at all: Austen, for example, is mistress of all of those things, and then some, thanks to the tempered late-eighteenth-century sentimentality for which she allows fondness but not respect. Nevertheless, full-blown in the the perfect spring day of letters (from the turn of the century through the Régence, or the reign of Queen Anne) are Montesquieu, Addison, Steele, Voltaire, Dean Swift... To say nothing of the music.

Chocolate: The "Supreme Pantry" near LI's house in Q**nc* has not only Penguins but also Crunchie bars. O you who flee the UK, take heed: you may not think you'll miss the prosaic sweets of youth, but in five or ten years, you, too, will shell out five dollars for a small packet of stale Jaffa Cakes. Find a reliable supplier as soon as you establish residency. Hell, I still don't know where to buy drugs in this town, but I can get you Ribena or Marmite or HP Sauce on a day's notice.

All right; off to S*m*d*y and coffee with MEG. MCH sent me a postcard from Ph*ll* with the santísima Virgen on it; I miss her bundles. Uh, MCH, that is, not the BVM. Visit mitsou's shiny new page! I exude waves of loving envy to la fromageuse and edithpilaf, who were chilling together in Points Northwest. I've never forgiven myself for missing this little shindig.