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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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Showing results by Lydia Davis only

If we ask for something during a meal, Adela comes out of the kitchen and says: There isn't any.

It is all so very nerve-racking. I often feel worn out after just one attempt to speak to her.

Luisa, I say, I want to make sure we understand each other. You cannot play the radio in the kitchen during our dinnertime. There is also a lot of shouting in the kitchen. We are asking for some peace in the house.

We do not believe they are sincerely trying to please us.

Adela someties takes the bell off the dining table and does not pput it back on. Then I cannot ring for her during the meal but have to call loudly from the dining room to the kitchen, or go without what I need, or get the bell myself so that I can ring it. My question is: Does she leave the bell off the table on purpose?

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—p.57 by Lydia Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

I spent the morning writing Luisa a long letter, but I decided not to give it to her.

In the letter I told her: I have employed many maids in my life.

I told her that I believe I am a considerate, generous, and fair employer.

I told her that when she accepts the realities of hte situation, I'm sure everything will go well.

If only they would make a real change in their attitude, we would like to help them. We would pay to have Adela's teeth repaired, for instance. She is so ashamed of her teeth.

But up to now there has been no real change in their attitude.

—p.59 by Lydia Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

It's beginning to rain, little drops driven sideways across the windowpane. Streaks and dots across the glass. The sky outside is darker and the lights in the car, the ceiling light and the little reading lights over the seats, seem brighter. The farms are passing now. There's no wash hanging out, but I can see the clotheslines stretched between the back porches and the barns. The farms are on both sides of the tracks, there are wide-open spaces between them, the silos far apart over the landscape, with the farm buildings clustered around them, like churches in their little villages in the distance.

—p.163 by Lydia Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

My office hours were scheduled for the hour before class. None of my students ever came to see me, not once, and so I always sat in my cubicle alone. It was an evening class, and the building was almost empty at that hour, but next door to me was another cubicle occupied by a more popular and successful teacher. I would sit alone in the nearly empty building and listen to everything he said to the steady stream of his own students.

I tell myself: There are just four of these hours each week. The four hours come one at a time, two on Tuesday and then two more on Thursday - just four small hours out of the whole week. But each casts a very long, very dark shadow on the day before, even on the two days before, and that shadow is especially dark the morning of each day of classes, and then darkest of all during those terrible ten or twenty minutes before the class, which include the last, almost unbearable minute of walking out the door of my office.

I also tell myself that many people in the world have awful jobs, and that compared to those jobs, this is a good job.

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—p.199 by Lydia Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

I had had a feeling of freedom because of the sudden change in my life. By comparison to what had come before, I felt immensely free. But then, once I became used to that freedom, even small tasks became more difficult. I placed constraints on myself, and filled the hours of the day. Or perhaps it was even more complicated than that. Sometimes I did exactly what I wanted to do all day - I lay on my sofa and read a book, or I typed up an old diary - and then the most terrifying sort of despair would descend on me: the very freedom I was enjoying seemed to say that what I did in my day was arbitrary, and therefore my whole life and how I spent it was arbitrary.

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—p.205 by Lydia Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

I liked the fact that the older waitress was taking care of her old steady customer. Then I had a thought that was odd, though not unpleasant: I realized I could just as easily not have witnessed this scene, if I had chosen to stay in the bus station. I could have been sitting across the parking lot in the waiting room while this scene was taking place. It would still have taken place. I had never before thought so clearly about all the scenes that took place when I wasn't there to witness them. And then, I had a stranger and less pleasant thought: not only was I not necessary to those scenes, and not necessary to those lives that continued to go on without me, but in fact, I was not necessary at all. I didn't have to exist.

I hope you understand how that is related.

—p.206 by Lydia Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

Yesterday I went back to a village two hours from here that I had visited eleven years ago with good old Orlowski.

Nothing had changed about the houses, or the cliff, or the boats. The women at the washing trough were kneeling in the same position, in the same numbers, and beating their dirty linen in the same blue water.

It was raining a little, like the last time.

It seems, at certain moments, as though the universe has stopped moving, as though everything has turned to stone, and only we are still alive.

How insolent nature is!

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—p.226 by Lydia Davis 3 years, 7 months ago

Showing results by Lydia Davis only