So, woke up this morning still in my thirties. And I know it's a little vulgar, but I really must discuss presents. Most are in the mail, or were given to me in Canada during my visit there last month, or something like that. But what knocked my socks off a little bit was my department head taking the department out for lunch to celebrate, and giving me two books I actually really wanted.
2. Primo Levi, The Periodic Table. Whilst reading the Oxford Book of Modern Science, which see, I came across his excerpt - 'Carbon' - and it was so unsettling and beautiful, so grand and sweeping, that I resolved to find and read the Periodic Table post-haste, and of course forgot. We'd spoken about it then, my boss and I, but not since, although since meeting Rodelinda's neurochemist man it had been back on my brain in a low-key way . . . and then my boss bought it for my birthday! I was that touched; it was so thoughtful. Obviously work doesn't know about this blog since I don't touch it from there, so you can believe me when I write that I feel really lucky in the two managers I have here - such good communicators, good motivators, and now the department head has bought me the Periodic Table for my thirtieth birthday. Pity the Americans are as they are but I only have to deal with them once a quarter, so, well, there you are.
2. And she also bought Rule Britannia by Daphne du Maurier. She'd previously lent me a bunch of du Maurier books and I find them intriguing - there's something a little bit extra about them when you're just expecting a gothic romance, something a little stinging, rough and dark. I loved Rebecca in that sense. And then she also wrote some books that were just plain fucking nuts - whose premises were quite distant from the gothic romance she gets pigeon-holed in because of how famous Rebecca got. One which my boss already lent me is The House on the Strand, which is fucking nuts in this somehow rigorously bourgeois way - a drugged-out time travel book told in the language of a stodgy, conflicted middle aged white collar man who gets addicted to the past. Rule Britannia also seems a little nutbar - the story of the US occupation of the United Kingdom as told from the perspective of the inhabitants of a rural Cornish town.
Anyways, I can't get over the thoughtfulness of it all. She got me presents that some people I've known all my life have never rivalled in appropriacy. I'm a lucky girl to have her in charge. I've been really lucky with bosses before and I know that's not necessarily typical. Maybe I can do a better job of counting my blessings in my thirties.