I’m having an affair with a professor who’s nearing retirement– the grotesque differential of our ages and the fact that he’s married put me off somewhat, I’ll own– but then, when I’m in his presence, I’m compelled by his personal magnetism, pulled to him irresistibly. but also I’m tired of waiting around for him to get to me– after all his more important buisiness, lecturing and so on– so I go to campus to find him, feeling bold and confident. only when I see him evidently busy and important, all he says to me is, “did you translate your joke?” and then my heart sinks, because I remember that I’ve been given this tiny piece of homework to do, so small, two lines only to be translated into an obscure eastern european language– and I’ve forgotten to do it. so I go off then to take care of it, this one little responsibility of mine in the complicated heist-type thing we’re planning– my part to waylay the foreign personnage by telling him this joke, and then, once he’s distracted, all the other cogs can move into place. but first I’ve got to translate it. so off I go to the library of this tiny liberal arts college, in search of a dictionary of… not moldovan, some other language whose name starts with an M… probably made-up. and I’m browsing the reference works that are stacked on top of the old card catalogs, but there are all these dumb happy students standing around the place, going through the card catalog in a leisurely manner and yammering away– so annoying– so at last I grab my dictionary on the obscure M language and go off to find a quiet place to write my translation. but there are these dumb happy leisurely students seemingly everywhere I look, clustering together at tables in twos and threes and big cumbersome groups– one of these last is strung along one long side of a library study table, all facing in the same direction– so I look off, trying to determine the object of their gaze, but all I can see is a carnival set up on the horizon– and I choose a chair very near the end and sit down close to the table’s edge so as not to impede their view.