The honking of the geese going south was beginning to get on his nerves. How to work with that going on. And the library was getting colder. The day had been grey, the soil damp, the air raw and feeling like snow. It might snow tonight. Not a long walk home though—and the apartment was at least warm. If it wasn't for the people upstairs, creaking, stamping (or that's what it sounded like), and shouting—but maybe just talking given the thin walls. Maybe they were using Skype—his own had long since ceased to connect. Needs a new password, or better, someone to call. He had felt the walls this morning—damp and a little soft— old plasterboard, wooden panels slightly buckled from heat and damp in that order. How could they let the housing get so run-down? But that was how monasteries worked, and this, all said and done, was a sort of monastery. Without the religion of course. But religion was there all right—under the radar, couched in academic formulae, a kind of ersatz nonbelief in belief. He had heard it at lunch—the endless parroting of rehashed research, of half-baked theories, of platitudes about how good the food was, or how much better the food was yesterday, or how interesting the mixed cold vegetarian salad was, or that you couldn't count on anything these days, or you are new here aren't you? Kindly inquiries, sensitive overtures, only half-listening to the replies.

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