Saturday, November 10, 2007

Albanians Among Us

Some of my loyal readers have heard me talk about my landlord and his family. My landlord, bless him, is approximately 7,000 years old, so in addition to not being able to speak English very well, he also can't hear. And he has a weird tendency to come upstairs any time he wants to check out how our apartment is doing and occasionally use our bathroom. This has increased recently (the visits, not the bathroom breaks) because of the repainting/remodeling we've been doing. I don't complain, because for once I am living in a place that has colour on the walls, but it is unnerving when it's ten o'clock on a Saturday night, I'm hunkered in a feral position over a pint of Ben and Jerry's and I suddenly hear a wheezing cry, "Richie nothere?!" Richie, of course, being my roommate Rich who has lived here for six years and has been adopted as another son. The second floor of this apartment belongs to the daughter and son-in-law and their two gorgeous girls, who have a tendency to listen to modern Albanian pop music at the top of the dial (11) on Saturday mornings. So loudly, in fact, that if I could speak Albanian, I would understand every word. SO LOUDLY in fact, that this morning I finally kicked off my London slippers and went downstairs to bang on their door and beg them to turn it down (6). No one answered ("I know you're in there! I can hear the football!") but the music mercifully fell silent.

(Must just briefly mention a new ad I saw for Yahoo Personals that shows a red rose, then a bunch of white roses with the caption: "When You're Ready to Find The One." You would think, if Yahoo was so keen on helping me find The One they wouldn't charge $25 a month to stand in the way of Tru Love. Vomit. Some of us don't want white roses. Some of us want sunflowers.)

I'm finally almost finished with "The System of the World," which is the last book in the Baroque cycle that I started, oh, about three years ago now. I almost didn't read the last book, since the second one was so draggy, but then the third one took place entirely in London, so I thought, what the hell. It's a good book. But the story is so confusing that I have NO IDEA who is on who's side, what their motivations are, nay, even who half the characters are. I daresay only sheer bullheadedness will get me through the last fifty pages. I'm just glad that Neal Stephenson has picked up the pace and made it funny, though not enough to prevent me from falling asleep on it every night. (I don't want to drop a book that heavy on the floor--it might go right through, and even if it doesn't, I care about my neighbors too much to wake them up. So I have another pillow.) Although "Snow Crash" might have defined the term "crack book" to a generation, alas, the Baroque Cycle doesn't live up to it.

In order to prolong the agony, I'm taking a break and reading Barack Obama's book "Dreams of my Father" which is good. Strike that--amazingly inspirational. I think it's interesting because of the way he identifies himself with different communities, but he's always searching for "home." Sounds familiar. Also he has a tendency to talk in grand flights of grandiloquence like yours truly. And I'm slightly embarassed that when he was twenty-five, living in Chicago, he was heading up community action organizations, whereas I'm not doing much bub blogging, but his experiences are so inspirational that I'm going to see if there's an organization where I can get involved. I'm sad to see how much he's changed now that's a big-shot politician, but I can totally identify with young-idealistic-Barack. I definitely recommend this book--some of you might be getting it for Christmas.


Peter said...

Dear Nicki,
You are not Barack Obama.


Laura said...

I've heard Audacity of Hope is also excellent. There's a rumor someone in Romania has that one. Now I just have to find them and steal, I mean borrow it.

Samantha said...

According to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell...4,000 years is the appropriate designation for things that old. But then again, your landlord's not a fairy is he?

Nicki said...

No, but he looks like a leprechaun