11th January 2001

I’m reading Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, a short story collection flavored with lots of details about Indian life. I don’t usually like short stories, but Lahiri is an uncommon writer. My favorite passage so far is a child’s description of what “sexy” means:

“It means loving someone you don’t know.”

4:43 p.m.

EMAIL MOMENT!

Subject: Friend tells me to use his car while he’s gone.

Excerpt:

You are perfectly welcome to drive my car around. Just remember to turn the lights off and you should be fine. Oh, and I’d probably prefer it if I could say that I’ve had sex in it more than you have, so try to keep the numbers down.

2:04 p.m.

My dentist supplies headphones for her patients. When you’ve got some quality tunes playing, you hardly notice the smell of burning tooth enamel while she drills. I selected Louis Armstrong.

Two masked dentists leaned over me, backed by a glaring, operating-table light, while I tried not to gag on the spit collecting at the back of my throat. At the peak of my discomfort, Louis sang, “AND I THINK TO MAHSELF, WHUTTA WONDERFUHL WAHHHLD� (cue strings).” I swear, it was like stepping into a Quentin Tarantino movie. I found it so absurd that I had to control the urge to laugh (funeralsbreakupsthethingsIwishI’dknown). But the more depressing things I thought about, the worse the juxtaposition became. When “Life is a Cabaret” came on, I lost it. With my mouth stretched open like a gasping trout, I started to guffaw.

They, mercifully, assumed I was choking. I tried to cover my lunacy with a few well-placed coughs, and hit stop on the CD player while I was sitting up. I shoulda gone with Korn.

10:55 a.m.