25 June 2008

Letter 2.18

About the epoxy, I didn't think you could send it in a letter -- actually I imagined you would send it in a reinforced toothpaste box or something of the sort. But please do send some, since without it there is little more I can do towards finishing the desk. If you would send two sets in separate packages on different days, there will be twice as good a chance of one of them getting through without the usual month-long delay at the customs house. All pieces of plywood for the covering are cut and many of them are in place, though not all of them are glued in place yet. I don't want to use nails because it would ruin the appearance of what will otherwise be a quite professional job -- the main difference between a professional job and the one I've done being in the time it took to do it rather than in the appearance of the desk itself. I'm actually quite pleased that it's turning out better than I had hoped. The tools I have -- since you asked -- are quite limited: a large saw, a small saw, chisel and mallet, hammer, ruler, files (one large, one small), screwdriver (for the screws in the hinges), drill (ditto), pliers, and jack-plane. Most of the dovetails are very close fits -- some of them can only be hammered into place -- but a few loose ones took some correcting. The desk is absolutely solid now -- strong enough to stand on without any signs of stress. But -- it's not yet finished, and I'll be glad to have it done. The most difficult part was not the dove-tails -- which turned out to be easier to make than I had been led to believe -- but the 4 corners which are 45°. It took a lot of thought and experimentation to get them right.

I learned from a scrap of paper just a few weeks ago that Nixon and Humphrey were the candidates for the election -- apparently the V.P. candidates are Muskie (who, for some reason, I seem to recall as the governor of South Dakota or some such forgotten place) and Wallace (which Wallace I'm not sure). But no further news has filtered down to me, and I don't know who won. (Nor would I, I expect, even if it had filtered down to me.)

I was invaded, about that time, by the creepie-crawlies, which -- in case you don't know -- are insects 1/2 inch long, brown, which wriggle about very rapidly on rather intoxicated courses. They came in thousands at sundown -- never earlier -- and lasted for about four hours, by which time they had all mysteriously vanished away. I had them four nights in a row and then they went away. No idea how they got in. They're totally harmless -- quite helpless, in fact -- but it's quite distracting, when I'm trying to meditate, to have them falling from the ceiling -- which is, perhaps, their means of entry -- and crawling up my back. Perhaps they're adolescent ants being evicted from the nest (there are some ant nests in the roof). In the day there’s not the slightest trace of them. I think -- to judge from the lizards and other small creatures -- that this must be the mating season in Ceylon.

Ants in my robes, so to speak.

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