Housekeeping Note:
Learning Curve

At breakfast, this morning, the Air Force people were holding a meeting in the bar — a space that is nothing like a bar during daylight hours. By day, it’s a covered terrace, open arches giving out onto the Caribbean, with here and there some rattan chairs and tables. It was fairly clear from what could be overheard in passing that the unit’s work is medical in nature; one could also surmise that a recent exercise was being evaluated. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the tone was that of your run-of-the-mill middle-management powwow, but the military character of the gathering seemed to have been left back in the room, on coat-hangers.

I’m going to spare you all the things that we’re learning about WiFi connections and iPads and whatnot, not because I really want to spare you, but because I know all to well what that sort of thing reads like in a week or so, not to mention a year later. It reads like something that a toddler hollers for while holding on to the crib railing. When the child has been gratified, everyone wants to forget the hollering — the little one most of all. That would be me.

Since nothing whatsoever has happened since I struggled to upload the previous entry, late last night (when the learning curve is always steepest), I have nothing to report save that Cynthia Ozick’s Foreign Bodies is at least this good: you loathe the narrator’s brother immediately upon reading two or three sentences of a scolding missive that he sends her, not ten pages into the book. Marvin Nachtigall will be instantly recognizable to anyone of a certain age who grew up on the East Coast. He’s exploits the unsocialized manners of his Jewish-immigrant forebears to make his worldly success obnoxiously clear. He knows better; his rudeness is a calculated pretense. That’s what makes it loathsome. Foreign Bodies also has going for it the Ambassadors puzzle: how will this novel turn out to be like/unlike the most accessible of Henry James’s grand finale trio?

As soon as a staff person brings round a patio chair that I can sit on — the stylish new lounge chairs proved to be dreadfully hard on my backside — I shall join Kathleen outside. She is embroidering an alphabet book for Will. I brought some stitching, too, but I haven’t felt moved to pick it up yet. I do hope that we’ll feel up to taking a walk this afternoon. In other prospects, I lined up an interesting clutch of links for Monday’s Daily Office. Step one, so to speak. We’ll see.