1351

He had been absent for so long, I was beginning to worry about the Sleeptalker. Was he in jail ... or worse (if you have a loved one who rides a bicycle in this town, ample reason to worry). But he arrived on campus early afternoon on Friday. Indeed, still with bicycle which much surprised me. I thought once the novelty wore off he'd either give it away or sell it.

He said he has (at last!) gotten himself organized enough to have an appointment scheduled for the following Tuesday with a social worker, seeking Crazy Money. It was a re-scheduled appointment because he's registered with an office out in the country and hadn't had the bus fare to get there. I told him that was silly, why hadn't he come to me? I certainly would've given the fare. I told him if he didn't have it this time, to see me at the mall on Monday evening. I wouldn't just give it to him then because I doubted he'd get through the weekend without spending it.

We spent the afternoon together and then he joined me again in the sunset area of the mall.

Saturday was a chance to recuperate. Again no opera, because I have no interest in Poulenc's Carmelites. (At last, next Saturday they're giving us Puccini, most welcome after the unorthodox offerings this summer, even if it's La Fanciulla del West, not one of my favorites). Prairie Home Companion, instead of offering a repeat of a full broadcast instead had a program of listener requests, excerpts from past shows. My own request would have been one of the Guy Noir episodes featuring Renee Fleming ... and I got my request without having asked for it.

The Sleeptalker again arrived on campus fairly early on Sunday morning and we spent the rest of the day together. If I'd had a means of recording our conversation and transcribed it as a Tale, it would surely be one of the most bizarre in this 1,351-episode saga.

I wondered why he didn't then appear at the mall on Monday evening, but instead he arrived later at the Dark Corner. I gave him money for the bus, he went on his way. Then he returned and slept there with me! First time in many months we've spent a night together, just the two of us.

He again stopped by the Dark Corner on Tuesday evening, said he'd been to the social worker and has an appointment set for a Qualifying Doc, is waiting for a letter to confirm that he has foodstamps and medical coverage. Definite progress. Thing is, he's unusually been spending time at the beach (even with a coral cut on his toe) and looks glowingly healthy. Not sure how that will affect the medical evaluation. After about an hour, he went on to the Black Hole. Couldn't blame him. In shorts and teeshirt at the Dark Corner, it's like hosting a feast for those wretched mosquitoes, not to mention having to wake up at four in the morning.

He did have the interesting news that the Cloisters is again allowing people to sleep there. Always good to know of alternatives.

And always good, if a bit exhausting, to spend so much time with the Sleeptalker.

1352

My readers do kindly try to help me out with the reading addiction, as with the recent Harry Potter assistance. Now another has sent me Sandford's Hidden Prey although, thanks to a clueless bookshop I had already found a copy. The thought is much appreciated, though.

I enjoy the productions of the sisters who write as Perri O'Shaugnessy and Presumption of Death, one of their Nina Reilly series, was especially good. I'd like to read an interview with them, hear just how it is they collaborate on these books. Another favorite, James Patterson, scored again with 3rd Degree. But a writer new to me, Donna Tartt, impressed even more with her A Secret History, such a beautifully written novel about some really strange young people at a small college in Vermont. Right now, it's a J.A. Jance saga with her Sheriff Joanna Brady in Paradise Lost. (Brady does suffer more angst than most of these fictional cops.)

It is Interim Week on campus, the interval between the end of the summer session and the new scholastic year. So there will be no online access the first weekend and, even worse, since Admission Day falls on a Friday, the second weekend will be a three-day drought unless I head to an internet cafe.

The Sleeptalker and I have both more or less given up on Seventh Circle, are spending more time playing Realms of Despair. This is the first of the SMAUG-type MUDs, which Seventh is based on. So we have the advantage of knowing the command syntax and many of the areas are also familiar, although not always in the same general location. At the moment, the Sleeptalker is ahead of me but, as always, he has created half a dozen characters instead of concentrating on one so I shall no doubt soon catch up and surpass him, despite offline weekends. Considering all the circumstances, it's rather amazing that these games play such a big role in my conversations with the Sleeptalker.

I've been challenging the dreaded IBS by having breakfast. Two slices of buttered wheat toast with cereal topped with milk and sugar. Either one of Kellogg's dry cereals (Special K, Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran) or oatmeal. Real oatmeal, not the instant packets. So far, no doubt with the help of ImmodiumAD, I'm getting away with it. I doubt Paradise Palms, the campus cafe across from Hamilton Library, will be open in Interim Week so this new habit will be temporarily suspended.

A week to gird my loins, prepare to lose the relative peace and calm of summer on campus and get ready for the crazed anthill it always is when the fall session begins.

1353

Interim Week. A chance to check out the incoming talent for the fall semester beginning next week, as they conduct guided tours of the campus for newcomers. Not yet any candidate for Freshman of the Year, but it's only Tuesday.

A quiet, uneventful weekend. The wretched Syndrome went ballistic on Friday and I barely made it to a toilet before a disaster occurred. One of the worst things about this infernal ailment is that there is often very little warning that a toilet trip is urgently needed. Not so terrible after sunset since one can duck into bushes, but in broad daylight?

For the first time in months, on Saturday I heard an entire opera. Puccini's cowboy epic is definitely not a favorite, but I did listen, and especially enjoyed the lengthy excerpts from Boheme and Butterfly which filled out the time. Always welcome music, even moreso when Tebaldi and Bergonzi were singing it.

I think I understand what at least some of those people who sit every day doing nothing are actually doing. They're indulging in fantasy. What life could be if, say, we had Aladdin's lamp. I've always done that, of course, but in recent years it has become a more pleasant habit. I asked the Sleeptalker about it and he said, yes, he has a fantasy about having an apartment. An apartment?! I go for a house.

Looking at a campus bulletin board, I noticed a flyer about some event on the last day the month. Erk! Wednesday. That means Third Wednesday will be as late as it can be in September.

I must be cautious.

1354

Although it certainly isn't intentional and they are probably not too happy about it, TheBus has become a major source of shelter for Honolulu's homeless population. In downtown and between there and the mall, most sheltered bus stops have regular overnight guests. The stop across from the State Library often has so many guests, there's no place for a person waiting for a bus to sit down. And even on the buses there are many people who seem to use the bus as their bedroom. On the early bus stopping at the State Library, coming in from the distant suburb of Makaha, there is a group of regulars who are on it every morning, sleeping away until it reaches the mall.

There's a little grey-haired woman who always wears a white, hooded jacket, has a small red blanket and pillow. Her body must be attuned to the movement of the bus because when it makes its first sharp right-turn into the mall, she wakes up, packs her blanket and pillow into a little bag. I never see her in the mall, so she must just sit there and wait for the next long-distance bus to continue her sleep.

The fifty-cent used book cart at Hamilton Library has been, as usual, rather uninteresting during the summer, but I did find one treasure. A writer I've never heard of, Mikhail Saltykov-Schhedrin. The Golovlyov Family. As always, I didn't read the scholarly introduction until after reading the book, but wasn't surprised to hear it described as the "most gloomy Russian novel". (If you've read any Russian novels, you will understand we are talking major gloomy.) What dreadful people, but how beautifully written about.

The computers at Hamilton are such a mess. The telnet program they have dumped on most of them is (from Microsoft) a disaster. When you hit the enter key, the cursor drops down three or four lines.

I got some stronger anti-mosquito stuff, liquid in a little squirt bottle. No more problem with the little vampires at the Dark Corner. First thing in the morning, when the mall's toilets open, I wash it off, thinking I'd really rather not have that poison on my skin longer than necessary. But maybe it's a mistake and I should just refresh it instead because the monsters are really bad on campus this summer.

This is a really strong Fool Moon.

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the tales