I am operating on a massive sleep deficit -- six hours last night didn't put me any further behind, but it didn't catch me up, either -- and tired of myself, my voice, and my general insufferableness. Thank God for friends and family who'll put up with it.
So today, rather than pretending I have any answers for anyone, a few questions of my own. If you have answers, please leave them below.
1. Why does everything break down at once? It's never just one major appliance, vehicle, or piece of electronic equipment; it's always at least three in the space of a single week. Why is this?
2. As a corollary question, why do socks all wear out at once?
3. But then, why does only one car headlight blow at a time, even if you replace them both at the same time?
4. Why do people act like such monsters around free stuff? Whether it's food, labor, advance reading copies, or gifts-with-purchase, the idea that someone's entitled to a free whatever disgusts me. I'm damn grateful for free stuff, and it would never occur to me to write or accost someone to ask where my free whatever is or why that favor wasn't done more quickly.
5. What happened to the idea of personal sacrifice for the greater good among our public servants? Where is Sydney Carton when we need him?
All right, that's enough to keep you busy. In Washington one last day, then home again tomorrow. Life would be easier with a jetpack, but then Dizzy couldn't travel with me.
What I Read This Week
Lee Child, Bad Luck and Trouble. Jack Reacher, always the loner, reunites with the members of his former MP Special Investigators' Unit to avenge the deaths of four of their comrades. For the first time, Reacher seems to be counting the cost of his peculiar lifestyle (no possessions but a folding toothbrush, which actually gets destroyed in this book, and no permanent address). Lee Child is speaking and signing at The Mystery Bookstore today, and I'll be interviewing him for a podcast later this afternoon. I feel nervous about that, and he's the first author I've felt nervous about interviewing. If you have any questions you'd like me to ask (Sue...), e-mail them to me.
Harlan Coben (ed.), Death Do Us Part. A collection of short stories of "love, lust, and murder," published by the Mystery Writers of America. It's been on my shelf for at least a year, but it's perfect reading for travel. Tim Maleeny's title story is gleeful and diabolical; Charles Ardai's "The Home Front" deserved its Edgar; and Lee Child's "Safe Enough" has an ingenious twist. Laura Lippman's "One True Love" is my favorite here, though.