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2008-11-24 - 1:40 a.m.

One-forty a.m. Took a big nap earlier and wide awake now. Playing basketball again and man I love that. I like the feeling of knowing, between releasing the ball and seeing and hearing it nestle in the net, that it'll go in. That two seconds of ninety-nine-percent knowing.

Thought I'd write about another person I work with.

JLT works six feet from me, on the other side of a cubicle wall. She listens to country music all day, every day, via headphones. I can't hear the music but I can hear her breathing. She is a very large woman, very large. She wears big shirts and baggy pants. She has a big belly. She fell, or broke her big toe, six months ago and used a cane for a while this summer. She told our boss that she has "a terminal, degenerative nerve condition," and I have no reason to doubt her. She was taking painkillers or something similar for a while and you could tell because she slurred her speech for months. She was very hard to understand and would ramble in meetings, starting thoughts, stopping, and then staring in the space just over peoples' heads.

She has been, on the whole, very nice to me. She was hired just after I was. We worked on some things together, and after one of them--in which she knew she was being difficult--she gave me a handwritten note and a gift card for downloading music. The note was kind and full of compliments and said that she's rather work with me than anyone else in the place. She has the same graduate degree as I do and was taught by the guy who wrote the memoir that I think is the best one yet, the one I read while doing temp work in 2005, when I'd bike home faster so that I could keep reading it. (She says he drank a lot.)

Typing note: I see that my "l" key is not working right. Earlier today it was the "p." I wish it would be the semicolon key instead. I dislike semicolons just about as much as is possible (which is not all that much, really, and nowhere near as much as I dislike Folgers or Maxwell House brand coffee).

I hear JLT talking on the phone. She calls her kids' school once a day, at least. I've met her kids and they are not, probably, easy kids. One of them got in trouble a few weeks ago for meticulously crossing out sentences and paragraphs and whole pages from a textbook. Pages and pages. I had to laugh because it's amazing and sad and funny to picture. She and her husband divorced a few years ago. Sometimes, after she hangs up with him, slamming down the phone after working out who's-picking-up-the-kids plans, she shouts, "Dickhead!" Lately she's been on the phone a lot with the pharmacy. One of her boys needs an increased dose of Ritalin. What he's taking now isn't lasting long enough. "DJ's having a rough time," she tells the pharmacist.

Sometimes my boss asks me to review JLT's work, to make sure it's done right. She's twenty years older than me and it makes me feel weird to do it but I do it.

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