1. This is a book recommendation for the next time you’re at the library: The Soloist, by Steve Lopez, a journalist for the LA Times. It’s about the redemption and power in friendship and music. It’s a true story, and happened in LA. You can watch the movie, and it’s good, but the book is really worth your time and thought. It was born out of Mr. Lopez’s search for a story for his column, and how he bumped into Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless musical genius. There’s more than one unlikely hero in the story, and maybe that’s part of why I like it.
2. I live in a flat that has 4,000 English books on its walls. This is in a town where the average adult doesn’t speak English, so this flat is exceptionally exceptional. About once a year our landlord hires a lady to dust all the books. This morning she came, a pleasant, patient lady. We chatted a little bit now and then. My Polish is slow and childish, but functional. She said this is a happy place, and I agreed and said I feel like a princess in it.
At one point in her work, she peered into the room to ask me what the date is today. I glanced at the calendar to make sure and said it’s the 95th. The cleaning lady, God bless her, never flinched or smirked. Then I heard what I’d said, and quickly cancelled it and stumbled out the correct number and explained that numbers are so hard for me. (Never mind that I learned them in the first week of Polish classes three years ago; I still stutter out most numbers higher than 11.) The most amazing part of this story is how graceful the woman was, and how she listened calmly and patiently til I finished what I wanted to say. I guess if you have the patience to carefully dust 4,000 books, you can also wait for the foreign girl to sputter out and self-correct her Polish mistakes.