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Three Things Janine Kishi Hates

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Janine doesn't like to use the word "hate," but apostrophe abuse makes her crazy. She likes to carry a Sharpie in her backpack at all times so that she can correct the offending signage. Once, she had a six-week war with the secretary of the computer science department at Stoneybrook Community College over a note in the ladies' room warning about "squirrel's" getting in through the open window. Each time she scribbled out the apostrophes, it would be replaced with a fresh copy. One day the secretary returned from lunch to find that a sign had mysteriously appeared near the copy machine asking people not to waste the "departments resource's." That was the end of that battle.

Janine has little patience for the clarinet. When she first started high school, she begged her parents to let her take lessons, but it didn't last very long. On paper, she could see just where you were supposed to place your fingers and just how you were supposed to blow on the reed. She practiced and practiced to make the notes sound technically right, but Janine was frustrated that when she played, it didn't sound nearly as lovely as the ones on her father's jazz records. Her teacher told her that there is more to playing an instrument than getting the notes right, that there were also the intangible qualities of feeling the music, and of course talent. It was right around that point that Janine decided to quit. She didn't see the point if there was nothing measurable she could do to improve despite all of her practice.

One thing Janine absolutely cannot stand are the geeky college guys with an Asian fetish. Not long after Mimi died, she tried to take a summer course in Japanese at Stoneybrook University and didn't last past the first week. No fewer than three of them offered to walk her wherever she was going, and one even pestered her in fanboy Japanese for a full fifteen minutes at the bus stop. She would never forget the day that one creepy guy followed her into Pizza Express, stood entirely too close at the counter, then plopped himself down at her booth uninvited. Charlie Thomas actually punched him when he wouldn't leave her alone and got all three of them banned for a whole month.

Well, maybe they weren't so bad after all.