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I have added three more books in quick succession to the book list (I average a book a week, reading leisurely). The three-times-a-week visits to the Veterans Administration hospital have given me enforced leisure, and it has been nice enough weather that I can sit in the car to read while waiting to provide return chauffeur service.

When the weather gets hot, in the 90's in July and the triple digits in August (if not before), I'll be forced to spend the waiting time out of the car and in the waiting rooms, with the television sets blaring Judge Judy (or worse) and the air saturated with the smell of Lysol. It's nearly impossible for me to read under those conditions. Maybe I'll try knitting or crocheting. I don't want to watch or listen to the idiot box, but the volume is always cranked up so that the patients can hear it on the top floors (that must be the reason, don't you think?).

I have considered buying noise-cancelling headphones. I went so far as to research them on various internet sites, but the sticker shock put a stop to that plan. I still haven't checked out the nose plugs for the offensive smell. Are smell-cancelling nose plugs just a science fiction invention (think Heinlein) or do they really exist? If they do, they're probably too expensive, as well.

And then I consider the uncomfortable seating. Why on earth are the chairs in waiting rooms so incredibly uncomfortable? You'd think the seating for people in distress would be as comforting and relaxing as possible. But, no, like any good puritan organization, they seem to consider that pain and exhaustion endured only make us stronger. Yeah, sure.

The VA appointments seem to go in cycles. I'm hoping that this spate of one appointment right after another (often more than one in a single day) will abate soon. The trip to the hospital is 40 miles round trip along the most congested freeway in Los Angeles, rush hour which lasts from 6 a.m. round the clock to 5:59 a.m. Combine the travel time with the waiting/appointment time and what you have is the best part of the day consumed.

It's hard on the patient, too, to be dragged back and forth, when he's not feeling well. Bus service is available, but I don't have the hardness of heart to drop him at a bus stop and wave good-bye, especially when he is facing a painful or scary procedure. Furthermore, I insist on being present during some of his appointments, because he does not ask questions/provide information and does not hear/understand/ remember the doctor's instructions.

So. What shall I read next? Something less ponderous than "A History of the End of the World" I think. Something entertaining, but a little more substantial than mind candy. Any suggestions?

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