Tag Archives: attachments

Attachments 41-45: A giant shot of momentum

Lincoln joins a gym the day after the revelation that he is Beth’s Cute Guy. What a coincidence. I know he had mentioned the possibility before, but still. . . that’s adorable. He also spent 20 minutes combing his hair before work. ADORABLE. Beth has unwittingly reminded him that it’s possible for people to notice him. It’s the jolt he needed to start taking care of himself a bit more. She already finds him to be “very cute, kind, and compassionate— and also sort of funny,” so imagine what she’ll think of a guy like that who also goes to gym. And has the most beautifully combed hair. He’ll be unstoppable.

Lincoln apparently can’t wait to find out if he actually looks like Jason Bateman, so he drops in at the bank to talk to Eve. “Do you want to look like Jason Bateman?” she asks, cautiously supportive of whatever this is (148). That really made me laugh. I wonder where Eve’s mind went when it seemed that Lincoln really wanted to look like Jason Bateman, with absolutely no context. She confirms the resemblance, except she notes that Lincoln’s “a lot bigger than he is” (148). When Eve echoes Beth’s swoony observation about his size, Lincoln just has to leave, presumably before his huge, goofy smile draws too much attention. It’s great to read about giddy Lincoln right after those heartbreaking Sam chapters.

We also get a reality check amid the giddiness. Lincoln now feels weird checking the WebFence folder in front of others, even though that task is practically his entire job description.  Clearly it’s become a ritual that he cherishes, which is not a healthy development. He knows that, but with all the recent talk of his cuteness, stopping will be harder than ever.  He’s also learning that Beth’s love life is not as solid as it seems, which is surely giving him hope, even though it will really complicate things if he ever does meet Beth. Beth’s discussion of her now impossible love-and-marriage timeline is so personal; it’s painful to think that her Cute Guy is reading it without her knowing. Lincoln’s really dug a hole for himself.

Stray thoughts

  • Update on the presence in Jennifer’s womb: it “is going to change — possibly destroy — the world as [she knows] it” (150). I love Jennifer so much.
  • Lincoln’s mother’s suspicion about his new gym habit is one of my favorite things. “As if people should go around looking at each other and thinking, ‘My body is so far superior to yours'” (152).

A Recommendation (sort of)

Armageddon was on TV during the writing of this post and I decided to take it as a sign that I should focus on Beth and Jennifer’s movie crushes, Ben Affleck and Colin Firth.  I headed over to IMDb to check out what these two were up to in 1999.

Ben Affleck is such a perfectly 1999 crush.  It was just two years after Good Will Hunting, when we all still had faith in him and he was so, so dreamy. Armageddon was the worst, but we all just thought, “every rising star has to make a dumb blockbuster. He won’t let us down again.”  Oh, well.

Colin Firth had done the Pride & Prejudice miniseries, The English Patient (snooze) and Shakespeare in Love (also with Ben Affleck!).  He was in something called The Secret Laughter of Women in 1999, which seems to be available on YouTube. It doesn’t look great, but that title is drawing me in. If I don’t report back in the comments, assume it was terrible. Anyway, I guess I’m recommending that we all watch some late 90’s Colin Firth. My favorite is Pride & Prejudice, which has a double wedding scene that would surely warrant a two-star upgrade from Beth.

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Attachments 36-40: My Very Cute, Kind, and Compassionate — and Also Sort of Funny — Guy

Finally!  Lincoln gets a small victory in these chapters when Beth’s Cute Guy’s identity is confirmed.  I like that the following chapter is just No, no, no.  I like that he’s overwhelmed by the news.  When I first read the book, I think I suspected he was the Cute Guy when he mentioned fixing a computer for the guys in ads, but I was definitely excited at the reveal both then and now.  You’re handsome, Lincoln!  Women think you look like the Brawny towel man!  What a high compliment.

This bright spot for Lincoln is very necessary for the readers after the devastating chapters of his break-up with Sam.  Their conversation at the park makes me so sad — his desperation mixed with his knowing acceptances just makes it that much more heartbreaking.  Rowell (it feels too formal to call her by her last name, but it feels dismissive not to.  I don’t know) perfectly captures those moments in the breakup when you crave the physical intimacy, while knowing it will still feel hollow.  Lincoln knows he could kiss Sam in those moments, but then when he does, it’s not what he wants.  He can’t settle for I love you or for always.  She’ll never be able to give him as much as he wants again.

But back to cheerier back half of the chapters.  Even though it does contain reference to a dog’s death, I always assume Lincoln’s sweet interest in the conversation with Dorris is one of the things that Christine swoons over.  He’s just such a nice guy!  The kind of guy who you know will be eager to meet your friends and go to dinners with your family.

Other Things

  • I am the Beth of City Hall.  I don’t try to work so much later than everyone else, but knowing that I don’t have to be in at a certain time means I always sleep in at least 30 minutes more than I should and take extra time in the morning and sometimes take a long lunch to walk through the Common and back.  Then, there I am, working until at least 6:00 when everyone has left by 4:30 or 5:00.
  • There wasn’t enough Jennifer and Beth in my chapters, confirming that, although I love swooning more than most things, I in this one for the friendship.

A Recommendation

Do you want to read a novel that also has a sad scene where one half of a couple thinks their love is enough for a great life and the other doesn’t?  Great news, I have the super sad Me Before You by Jojo Moyes to recommend.  If you want to be incredibly emotionally destroyed, start it only two days after seeing The Fault in Our Stars.  But actually, while sad, it’s really great.  Curl up with it during the next summer thunderstorm.

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Attachments 31-35: maybe I’m ripening

We finally get to hear more about Lincoln and Sam’s relationship, specifically their breakup. Sam is the worst. Of course their relationship ends because she cheats on Lincoln. And Lincoln, hanging out in the back of the theater while your girlfriend rehearses is such soon-to-be-dumped boyfriend behavior. Lincoln’s goodbye note to Sam is so sweet. It’s bad enough that she’s cheating on him, but then he has to catch her in action. Sam and Marlon won’t even let Lincoln make a quick escape. Poor crying Lincoln.

Lincoln doesn’t tell people about his breakup with Sam. He tried to tell Justin about it once, but Justin is not the confidant type. This event radically altered his life and to discuss it with other people would belittle it. Talking about breakup with someone would give the other person an opportunity to tell his or her own breakup stories, and make Lincoln’s something common and mundane. Lincoln doesn’t want to share his experience; he wants to wallow.

Other Things

  • I should have a section devoted to Midwestern things that make me happy in Rainbow’s books. This week it’s Village Inn! And that people who have never lived here always think it’s quaint and funny.
  • I love imagining Lincoln’s mom confront Sam’s mom at the grocery store.
  • A personal shower—yikes.
  • Jennifer is pregnant!!
  • I like seeing Lincoln’s family in action. The entire chapter cracks me up.

A Recommendation

No book makes having a rocker boyfriend more appealing to me than This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen. Remy is not interested in romance–her mother’s five marriages make it hard to see the appeal. Remy dates, but she doesn’t get attached. She definitely doesn’t date musicians, until Dexter. To be clear, Dexter is nothing like Chris—he’s warm, affable, and goofy.

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Attachments 26-30: This is a workplace.

Beth and Jennifer are really running wild now that it’s been months without a single reprimand.  Just a quick timeline check: the first email of the novel was in August and now we’re in October (“Calooh! Callay!”). Lincoln can’t give them a warning at this point and he certainly can’t bring himself to stop reading their flagged emails. Just from reading a few of their conversations, he can tell that they’re good people. Cool and funny and kind. I totally get that; I mean, that’s why I’m reading this book that is mostly composed of their emails. They’re awesome and I want to be friends with them.

It’s clear that Lincoln wants to be more than friends with Beth, but he tells himself that it’s just a little work crush, which I think we all need to get through the day (or night, in Lincoln’s case). He’s curious, so he visits her empty desk at night and takes in the little details. In my opinion, this behavior is right on the borderline. It’s definitely weird and a little creepy, but you could still spin it so it’s kind of sweet. Then he goes to see her boyfriend’s band at a show and I think that crosses a line. What is the ideal outcome of this little field trip? It makes me so uncomfortable. Afterwards, Beth spots her cute guy being all kinds of cute in the Advertising department and tells Jennifer all about it.  Lincoln is jealous, more so than with Chris because Chris is actually cool. He can see Chris’ appeal, but some salesman? That pisses him off. Oh, Lincoln. You’re in too deep.

Whenever I recommend this book to someone, they scoff at the synopsis on the back cover and I don’t blame them. When I focus too much on the premise of Attachments, I remember that I probably shouldn’t like this book. Or maybe this book shouldn’t be as good as it is. Everyone is so out of line! Lincoln is reading all this incredibly personal information and letting this behavior continue. And Jennifer and Beth aren’t blameless here— talking about ovulation and unprotected sex on company time, leaving a written record of it. . . are you kidding me? Just for fun, I went through the first page of chapter 30 for words that are possibly flagged: Heroin, pregnant, period, pee, womb, sex (times 2), ovulating. Actually, some of these are probably not flagged, because when would they even come up? If I was setting up WebFence, I would never think to include womb or ovulating. I have never said either of those words at work. I know that for a fact.

Stray thoughts

  • Jennifer might be pregnant! For real this time!
  • I love the casual mention that Lincoln ate two pieces of pie in one sitting. He’s so big and brawny.
  • “Just root for me” (115). Aww, Cath and Levi!
  • Razorwine is an incredible band name. Much better than Sacajawea.

A Recommendation

I’m currently reading We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, an ARC that’s been sitting on my nightstand for a while (a very long while— the book has been released by now, with a ton of buzz around it).  The wealthy Sinclair family has always spent its summers on a private island near Cape Cod, where the patriarch and his three daughters each have their own house (one of the houses is called Cuddledown!! Rich people are weird!). Cadence Sinclair Eastman, her two cousins, and a family friend become a tight-knit group called “the Liars.” They’re inseparable until Cadence suffers a mysterious injury during “Summer Fifteen.” She spends the next few years dealing with debilitating migraines and trying to piece together what happened that summer.

Like Beth, I’m so in love with autumn (I know that was back in Chapter 25, but stick with me here). I never need a reason to get in the autumn spirit and the other seasons just can’t compare. Especially not summer. There is a very short window of time when I can trick myself into getting excited for summer, before I remember how much I hate mosquitos and humidity. I’m right in the middle of that window right now and this book is really working for me. A great summer read needs to be dramatic and a little soapy and, if the drama unfolds in a beach setting, so much the better. We Were Liars reminds me of another dysfunctional family saga, Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters, which is THE summer book as far as I’m concerned.

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Attachments 21-25: October, baptize me with leaves!

Merry October! I love Beth’s speech about the month that begins Chapter 25.  As I said to Christine on the phone, it reminds me of the scene in You’ve Got Mail when Tom Hanks tells Meg Ryan he wants to buy her a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils.  Like possibly everyone, I love fall.  I love this speech!  Just as Lincoln is more attracted to Beth through the conversations, I’ve always loved Jennifer much more.  I love her Baby Gap addiction (mostly because, real talk, I have one, too. I don’t want babies but I love overpriced baby clothes!  Thankfully, I have a niece who I can buy tiny jumpers and jackets and dresses for) and I just think if we met, we’d be incredibly close friends.  But here, I love Beth most.  I especially love that she’s in such a good mood because she wasn’t having a great day and October cheered her out of it.  I like this attitude.  I like that she starts off with her love for October and eventually gets to her problems with Chris.   It’s like when you have a terrible morning so you put “Crazy in Love” on repeat on your ipod and by the third time, you’re so happy, mostly because of the comparison of your moods and your own ability to change it.  

In these chapters, we also see the sweet, romantic sides of both Beth and Lincoln.  When you read or watch romantic comedies, the two people you want together aren’t together for the majority of the time.  Sometimes they don’t get together at all.  So while we always infer that they have the same happily ever after plans, we never really know it.  Here, we see Beth and Lincoln as gushing, sweet, romantics who want nothing more than white-picket endings.  Lincoln loves the idea of a first love.  Beth loves the idea of being a stay-at-home mom with a dentist husband.  They want simple and true.  My love of female friendship makes the Beth-Jennifer relationship the real swoony one for me in this story, but these chapters make me start to get pretty swoony about Beth and Lincoln.

What else? What else!

  • Lincoln’s remembrances of high school and Sam are like a sneak peek into the Rainbow Rowell YA-mastery of 2013.
  • I love the idea that everyone in the news room wears glasses.  One of my friends was the editor of our college’s newspaper and sometimes I would go visit her at the office, and it seemed like a pretty great place to be.  They had adorable grammar signs on the wall!  
  • My parents may have once had an “addicted to school” conversation with me.  

A recommendation: I have been reading so many YA novels now that my semester is over AND listening to even more of them as audiobooks while working at City Hall.  Unfortunately, all of the books that I’ve read were previously recommended to me on this website by Emily.  I will tell you that my favorite was Anna and the French Kiss, which you must immediately read, and the best audiobook was the first of E. Lockhart’s Ruby Oliver series, The Boyfriend List.  The voice acting in it is so great.  Instead, I will suggest that you watch You’ve Got Mail and listen to my favorite fall songs (both those about fall and those I listen to in fall): Autumn SweaterAll Too WellThe Walking SongIt Might As Well Rain Until SeptemberHey, That’s No Way to Say GoodbyeSuburban WarSons and DaughtersOn the Radio, and You Are What You Love. (I probably should have just made you an autumn songs mix.  Maybe someday.)

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Attachments 16-20: Roo-ah-roo-ahhh

Obviously Lincoln’s resolve to stop reading Jennifer and Beth’s email doesn’t last long. And really, who could resist Beth and Jennifer’s witty repartee? Lincoln gets engrossed and finds himself thinking about what they both look like, especially what Beth looks like. While he’s not at ease with what he’s doing, Lincoln thinks “maybe it isn’t exactly all bad” (72). That’s not a resounding endorsement, but reading Beth and Jennifer’s emails is the only thing that keeps Lincoln sane at his job, so he has to justify it some way.

In this section, Beth and Jennifer’s conversations are filled with workplace antics! I find the line “whenever Tony works, I go home reeking of the sea” (74) to be wildly hilarious. Oh food odors. There is someone at my work who routinely pops popcorn, and I am jealous every time. And I love stories of passive-aggressive workplace tactics, like stealing someone’s nail clippers. But best of all, Beth sounds the Cute Guy Alarm. Of course everyone’s first response is that it can’t be true. As Beth says “this place can’t sustain cuteness” (77). There are so many great descriptions of Beth’s mysterious cute guy—“monumental cuteness” (77), “action-hero facial features” (77), and “a passenger pigeon with a sweet ass” (78) are all gems.

Now that Lincoln isn’t trying to convince himself that he’ll stop reading their emails, he takes it to the next level and checks out Beth’s desk. She has a Rushmore poster! Lincoln wants to find a picture of Beth, but all he finds are pictures of Chris and her family. Chris looks like the prototypical rock star with a “get-out-of-free card in his back pocket” (81). And then Lincoln feels awful about what he’s doing and about himself in general. It’s the saddest use of lumbered ever.

Other Things

  • Nothing is funnier than Y2K preparations.
  • Word Beth. Brian Williams is a fox.
  • ‘Smov the Ninekiller. Stop. It’s too perfect.

A Recommendation

I read the best book recently—The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. It’s magical realism, but there’s so much unrequited love and intense longing that it feels like a good pairing for Attachments. Though Ava is the titular character, the story is just as much about her mother Viviane, and her grandmother Emilienne.

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Attachments 11-15: This is a terrible place to meet people

Lincoln feels like going out for a change, which is probably a sign of progress.  Maybe eavesdropping on someone else’s friendship is making it harder for him to ignore how poorly socialized he is. The bar he and Justin end up at, The Steel Guitar, sounds truly terrible, but it’s still a good step for Lincoln. Going “where the girls go” (49), no matter how ridiculous that place is, at least gives him a little practice talking to people again. Interestingly, his discomfort with the venue pushes him to show more personality and spark than we’ve seen so far. Unfortunately, it’s a bit much for Lisa, who gently excuses herself. I LOVE Lincoln. Seriously, I love Lincoln like Anna loves Levi, but his little outburst about the bar/dating scene would have made me uncomfortable, too. He might have been able to save it with the garden exchange though. That was hilarious.

Beth and Chris’ story reminds me that college is pretty much the least terrible place to meet people. So much can happen at the Student Union! As we discussed in a lot of the Fangirl posts, you have to actively try not to meet people in college. Beth had all the time in the world to orchestrate run-ins with her crush. The year of dating that followed could unfold without any urgency; it was allowed to be unpredictable and directionless (but, like, in a sexy way). You guys, I miss college so much sometimes. Anyway, the story of how they met is adorable, but as for how Chris actually is as a boyfriend. . . I’m with Jennifer on this one. Chris would make me insane. All the things that made him intriguing and mysterious in college make him an infuriating, unreliable life partner.  And I have to admit, I’ve never really been into moody musician types. “Are you rolling your eyes yet?” (58). Yes, I am. Please do not slip a leaf under my door as a romantic surprise. A LEAF.

On the WebFence front, Lincoln is increasingly self-aware. He fully admits to his growing affection for these two and recognizes the way that it’s clouding his judgment. Since he knows Jennifer and Beth’s conversations are harmless and it would be weird to issue a warning at this point, Lincoln concludes that he should stop reading their emails altogether. So we’ll see how that goes.

Stray Thoughts

  • Justin is a 1999 version of Jean-Ralphio.
  • 1999: when bra straps were an integral part of your outfit! Remember those detachable patterned ones?
  • Jennifer’s email about her mother tells us so much about her. That particular mother-daughter dynamic is so fully drawn in less than two pages. It’s very impressive.

A Recommendation

In Gayle Forman’s Just One Day, serious, college-bound Allyson goes on a post-graduation European tour.  There she meets Willem, a free-spirited Dutch actor who persuades her to abandon her tour group and its tight itinerary.  Their whirlwind romance and Willem’s artsy, bohemian charm (and aversion to commitment) remind me of Beth and Chris’ younger years. A sequel, Just One Year, was released this fall. It continues the story from Willem’s perspective. He’s definitely the type to write a poem on your stomach or slip a leaf under your door.

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Attachments 6-10: Things Lincoln is Good At

I wrote all of this post earlier in the night, and then I accidentally closed the browser with no draft saved. I don’t know how this happened, but it is tragic. So, for the second time, Attachments 6-10:

Lincoln is both alone, surrounded by no one, and also constantly surrounded by women. His mom, his sister Eve, Sam, Jennifer, and Beth crowd his physical space, his mental space, and his emotional space. These women (or the knowledge of them, the memory of them) are challenging Lincoln to push past this moment in his life, to take time for introspection and motivation and action. Lincoln tries to be passive, but the women create energy; they propel him into motion (or at least try to).

Lincoln has gone as far as to look up Jennifer’s title, because he of course already knows of Beth, hoping to familiarize himself with the people behind the emails that he’s reading. It’s in that familiarity that Lincoln is confronted with a moral dilemma. He is no longer “Just doing his job” when he reads the flagged emails. Now, he’s playing favorites, choosing sides, trying to not scare off the women. He rationalizes his behavior by saying that he’s not even sure what their emails are flagged for, but actively not give them a warning is admitting to himself that he is instead reading their emails for pleasure not work. It’s the worst aspect of his job, and he must confront his own enjoyment of it and what that means exactly.

To make matters worse, this job is the main focus of Lincoln’s life, partly because of the strange hours and partly because of his lack of a social life. When I was 25, I moved home, so I really empathize with much of his conversation with his mom about her packing his lunch. Yes, you can try and live at home only for the free rent, but don’t parent-child roles always resurface? We see, in small pieces, how Lincoln’s mother can be demanding of his attention, mostly in his remembrances of his time with Sam. She both feeds into his commitment to the rut he’s in, by encouraging him to do less for himself, but also tries to persuade him to make a change, to quit his job, to rejoin those living in the daylight.

As we see in his conversations with Eve and his previous relationship with Sam, Lincoln’s current life is probably far from the one he pictured himself having. He excelled at being a student, knowing that he loved academics, but unable or uninterested in seeing what was past formal education. Eve desperately wants him to have not just a job but a career, hoping he will take the opportunity to plan for his future, just as Sam once did. Sam’s list of things that Lincoln is good at was telling — as a narrator, he’s rarely sharing his good qualities with us. But it seems that older Lincoln is not so different from high school Lincoln. Making a change, moving forward, taking action are not on the list. Lincoln doesn’t like his job, but he passively accepts the creepy associations with reading someone’s email. He doesn’t want to fully immerse himself in a life lived at his mother’s, but he takes the dinners she cooks for him and allows her life to revolve around his meals. Even when considering a social life, he admits that he didn’t do anything to make Sam fall in love with him. She did so on her own.

The third item on the list of things that Lincoln is good at is avoiding the issue, and is these chapters, he shows off his expertise.

What else? What else

  • I love the small story about Lincoln and Eve’s mom previously having a bong. It explains so much, and yet I want to know SO MUCH more.
  • I think we can all agree with Beth that shopping for bridesmaid dresses brings out the absolute worst in humanity.
  • I also don’t find Tom Cruise attractive, so I am sold on the idea of this conspiracy.

A Recommendation:
Although I wasn’t focused on Jennifer and Beth in this post, I’m going to take a cue from their beautiful friendship and how they help each other deal with the impending doom of major life milestones and recommend Playing House on USA. It’s a new show starring Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham from the tragically cancelled Best Friends Forever. The show is hilarious and sweet and treats best friendship as the beautiful and incredible relationship that it is. Watch it!

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Attachments 1-5: Lincoln didn’t crochet

It’s time for Attachments! It’s 1999 and having an email address is still a novelty. We’ve got Jennifer Scribner-Snyder and Beth Fremont, best friends who work at the same newspaper and exchange frequent emails. And then there’s Lincoln, the hapless IT guy who has to monitor everyone’s email.

I’ve been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls lately and Beth and Jennifer’s relationship reminds me a lot of Lorelei and Sookie. I see it in the way they banter with each other, which makes sense because Rainbow Rowell loves to write dialogue. I love the way Jennifer talks about thinking she’s pregnant, particularly “instead of cramps, I feel this strangeness in my womb region. Almost a presence.” (2) And the way the Beth habitually indulges the Jennifer’s pregnancy hysteria, but only to a point. And of course Jennifer is willing to set aside her own concerns when Beth’s younger sister gets engaged and needs to talk about Chris, the noncommittal live-in boyfriend. Just to be clear, I think 2 a.m. stomach poems sound like the worst. I don’t want anyone writing on my stomach and I certainly don’t want anyone waking me up at 2 a.m. to share said poem.

Poor Lincoln, he still lives with his mom, the only girlfriend he talks about is an ex, and he hates his job. His mom seems pretty great—I mean, she subscribed to Ms.—but living with your mom when you have a full time job is never the dream. Especially when your fulltime job makes you miserable. Part of me is very intrigued by the prospect of reading everyone’s email—I’m very nosy. But I don’t think I could handle the pressure, specifically everyone knowing that I was monitoring the emails. And if the nature of Lincoln’s job isn’t isolating enough, he works off hours, in an empty part of the building. I have also succumbed to the lure of a non-dream fulltime job with benefits, but at least I work regular hours and have wonderful coworkers.

Other Things

  • I think I would hate the late night component of Lincoln’s job the most. When Anna and I worked late night shifts at the library, I did nothing but complain. And when I worked in restaurants and had to close, I would always get very punchy.
  • I’m so excited to read more about Kiley and Brian’s wedding.

A Recommendation

If you love the chapters with Beth and Jennifer’s emails, you should check out Meg Cabot’s intertwined, post-modern epistolary novels—Boy Next Door, Boy Meets Girl, and Every Boy’s Got One. The characters in these books also work at a newspaper. The books are funny, light, and romantic. My favorite is Every Boy’s Got One, because it involves eloping to Italy .

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