The Peret poems wearied me with their crazy energy. Billy the Kid, which I’ve read many times, was good, but chilled me - also because the day was cold - and made me tired. I closed my eyes, I felt cold. I’d chosen a bench in the sun but there was no sun. My eyelids drooped; more than anything I longed to lie down, but it seemed disgraceful. Still, I had nothing anyone could steal while I slept, and it was unlikely anyone would accost me, there were so few people there. As an experiment, I put my legs up on the bench. I couldn’t go through with it.
The last thing I wanted to do was go home and start innerly burning about my lazy do-nothing-all-day teenagers. So I moved on to Kaputt, with its slightly sleazy, sympathetic narrator:
“I had just returned to Italy a few days before after having lain in a Helsinki hospital where I had undergone a serious operation that had exhausted my strength. I still walked with a cane and was pale and emaciated. (...) My martini shook in my hand I was still so weak.”