Sixty dollars is what I get paid for attending a committee meeting. Today was the second day of testimony in the hearing. Tomorrow will probably be the rest of the testimony, and Friday the committee will deliberate and decide. As secretary of the committee I will write up the minutes of that meeting and document our decision. Whatever that is.
Sixty dollars is really not much, but it keeps this elected official stuff from feeling entirely like volunteer work. I should have put my checks into a special account and dedicated it to a special purpose. Maybe next year.
Tonight, though, is Fun Night. We have a free dinner and overnight stay at the Native American-run casino near us. The hearing session today adjourned unexpectedly early, at 2:30 instead of 5:00, so Smokey and I were able to drive to the casino a couple hours earlier than we expected.
Right now he is off somewhere, presumably feeding the slot machines, and I am taking advantage of the free wireless internet. In an hour or so he will come fetch me for dinner, after which he will return to the slots and I will return to this comfortable room to enjoy knitting, cable TV (we do not have that at home), The Graveyard Book on my iPod, and Lolita in the paperback analog version. It will be an exciting and satisfying evening for all.
Let me tell you a little bit about Lolita. I am trying, bit by bit, to at least attempt to read all the books that are classics, or famous, or that for some reason I feel that I should have read. I cannot remember now why I clicked on Lolita in the library catalog to request it, but I am enjoying it. Surprisingly, it is funny! There are plot twists that make me laugh at their irony or incongruity.
Edgar Humbert Humbert is an admitted pedophile who lusts after pre-pubescent nymphets. But not all pre-pubescent nymphets; he is only attracted to the ones in whom he senses a certain evil, a certain seductive allure. If you are old enough to remember 1981, think of Brooke Shields in that infamous Calvin Klein ad. That kind of nymphet.
So after various escapades and a failed marriage and some lightly touched-upon interludes in sanataria, EHH comes to America. He takes a room in the house of a widow who just happens to have a 12-yo daughter, Dolores. He lusts after Dolores, whom her mother calls Lo. EHH transforms that name into Lolita and devises a brilliant plan: he will marry the widow, who lusts for him, in order to be near Lo. However, Lo acts suggestive and seductive around him, and her mother is jealous. After the wedding she sends Lo off to summer camp. EHH is heartbroken but tells himself he can wait until fall when she returns from camp.
Then the mother tells him that she is going to send Lo directly from summer camp to a boarding school, from whence Lo will eventually go directly to college! EHH is devastated.
He contemplates murdering the mother but cannot bring himself to do so.
She snoops in his desk and finds his diary, in which he has written of his feelings for Lo. Wife is disgusted, tells him she will not allow him ever to see Lo again, yada yada. She is writing letters, presumably telling her friends or relatives of his despicable character and desires, but when she leaves the house to mail the letters she is hit by a car and killed.
Whee! thinks EHH. She's gone! Lo is mine!
He persuades the various friends and neighbors and officials not to contact Lo at summer camp with the tragic news. Once he has taken care of any necessary funeral arrangements, he will drive there to tell her himself.
All goes as to plan. He picks her up from summer camp, telling her that her mother is sick, in a hospital, and will need an operation. Lo is fairly indifferent to this, as she and her mother fought most of the time anyway. Eventually he tells her that her mother is dead. No reaction.
EHH and Lo travel the US for a year. He drugs her so he can feel her up at night (he considers himself honorable because he makes no attempt at penetration.) She seduces him, he discovers he is not her first lover, but he continues to lust for her. Although EHH now has his heart's (and other bodily parts') desire, she turns out to be not nearly as much *fun* as he had expected. She is moody. She is petulant. She is childish. She is greedy. She is manipulative.
The year of traveling reminded me so much of The Ransom of Red Chief, the short story by Mark Twain [edited to correct] O. Henry, that it made me laugh out loud. I'm only a little over halfway through the book, so I can only imagine (actually, I cannot imagine) what will happen next.
The book is so different than what I expected. When I finish it I must re-read part of Reading Lolita in Tehran so that I can understand what they are talking about.
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Smokey just walked in. Time for dinner. He is $102 ahead right now. Yay for the luck of The Bear!