"Well she doesn't have time to read" - Mothering Forums
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Parenting > "Well she doesn't have time to read"
limabean's Avatar limabean 10:59 AM 12-06-2010

Two different people have said this to me in the past week regarding SIL1. I mentioned that I had bought books for my MIL and SIL2 for Christmas, and was trying to think of something else for SIL1 since reading isn't a hobby of hers. And both people I said it to said, "Well, she doesn't have time to read." Now, granted she has 1-year-old twins so I'm sure she is pressed for free time, but she just isn't a reader, she never was. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just not a hobby of hers so I was trying to think of a different gift for her that would be in line with her hobbies. I have two small kids too and I read every single day, because it's something I enjoy. I dunno, I know they probably didn't mean anything by it, but for some reason it irked me to hear it twice like that.

 

It reminded me of a woman I work with who I call a "just you wait"er (they're cousins of the "must be nice"ers wink1.gif) -- she's kind of bitter, and when she would see me reading in the break room (pre-kids) she would always say, "Oh, just you wait, you won't get to do THAT anymore once you have kids." Well, my kids are 6 and 2 now, and I still read every day. So, I dunno, I'm just annoyed by the whole thing. Like I must have mountains of free time, or such an easier life or something, because I make time to read (and sew, and bake, and do the other things I enjoy instead of being a martyr and then complaining about it all the time). Ugh. eyesroll.gif



laohaire's Avatar laohaire 11:08 AM 12-06-2010

I hear ya, but I think I do similar things myself. I didn't have time to read when DD was younger - just now enjoying some reading time again. It's just a way of stating priorities.

 

I say all the time that I "can't afford" this or that. But it's about priorities. To my mind, I can't afford, say, a $100 on new bedding. (Yeah, I have a thread going on about that actually). But it's shorthand for "I would rather save the $100 or spend it on other things."

 

To some people, I'm sure they really do feel like they don't have time to read. Because they are doing other things that they would rather be doing or think are more important. When I'm reading, I COULD be exercising or cleaning the house. Or being with my family. Those are obviously very important things. I can see why someone would feel they didn't have time to read. As it is, when I do read these days, I do feel like I'm stealing from the family by not doing something productive.


limabean's Avatar limabean 11:22 AM 12-06-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

I hear ya, but I think I do similar things myself. I didn't have time to read when DD was younger - just now enjoying some reading time again. It's just a way of stating priorities.

 

I say all the time that I "can't afford" this or that. But it's about priorities. To my mind, I can't afford, say, a $100 on new bedding. (Yeah, I have a thread going on about that actually). But it's shorthand for "I would rather save the $100 or spend it on other things."

 

To some people, I'm sure they really do feel like they don't have time to read. Because they are doing other things that they would rather be doing or think are more important. When I'm reading, I COULD be exercising or cleaning the house. Or being with my family. Those are obviously very important things. I can see why someone would feel they didn't have time to read. As it is, when I do read these days, I do feel like I'm stealing from the family by not doing something productive.



I could see that if SHE were the one saying she didn't have time to read. I would interpret that as her saying that she'd like to read but has trouble finding the time to do it. But the people who said it have known her her entire life, and she's just NEVER been a reader. It's not like she used to read all the time and then had the babies and now doesn't read. She's just not a reader. That's fine, but it isn't because she doesn't have the time. 


nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 11:48 AM 12-06-2010

Anybody can find time to do what they enjoy.

 

I loved reading, but I can't see well enough anymore, and can no longer read.  (are E-books easier on the eyes?)

 

But, before my eyesight went bad, I read whenever I had time to sit and watch tv, I'd read instead.  I'd read for 30 minutes before I turned off the lights.   Because it's what I LIKED.  Now, I like the wii, or going to the gym, or hiking.  

 


Tigerchild's Avatar Tigerchild 11:50 AM 12-06-2010

Uh, with respect...while you do have two children, you don't have 1 year old twins.

 

I am a voracious reader. Of everything.  And when I was a mom of 1 year old twins and their two year old sister--guess what.  I didn't have time to read hardly anything--and certainly not anything that I was going to retain/think about/enjoy for longer than 2 minutes at a time.  I couldn't even read while nursing.  They ripped up and ate my books, so even my old favorites I had to put away.

 

Why on earth does this bug you so much?  While she may indeed never have been a reader, it's also probably true that she doesn't have the time.  Why are you taking that so personally?

 

I hear people say they don't have time to read all the time.  It's hard for me to relate to that, BUT OTOH, I love reading, I read very fast, and I'm not picky.  If I wasn't any of those things, I would probably perceive the time spent reading differently.  I don't have time to knit.  It's frustrating, boring, and makes me nuts and I hate hats, mittens, and scarves anyway.  Yes, if I put my mind to it, I could probably choke it down--but that's just depressing, the thought of making myself use my scarce spare time to do something that I find irritating at best.  However, if other people enjoy it, I am happy for them.  I hope they aren't all pissed at me because I don't "make time" to do something that I don't enjoy so as not to offend their knitty sensibilities.  So I try to be compassionate when I boggle at how people don't choose to read, which to me is probably more important than breathing.  It's not everyone's thing.  It's none of my business.  I get over it.

 

I'm guessing perhaps there are other issues than reading that are bugging you, truly.  I'm really glad that you're not getting your SIL a book though.  I hate it when people give me things that they think I should enjoy because they do even though they know I don't, and do my best not to do that to anyone else.  I wonder if the people who say "she doesn't have time" might have perceived something snarky in the way you asked?   Those would be weird out of the blue comments--they sound a little defensive to me, esp. if she was never a reader.  And yes, truly, her time is probably crunched at this point in life, esp. for anything that you need to devote attention to or where it helps to have longer than a couple of minute bursts.


LaLaLaLa's Avatar LaLaLaLa 11:56 AM 12-06-2010

I think that reading is one of those hot-button topics about which people tend to get really defensive. I read obsessively, because I enjoy it, and I frequently come across people who seem apologetic about the fact that they don't read. (not CAN'T, of course, but don't CHOOSE to)

 

For some people, they feel like saying someone doesn't read is the same as saying they are stupid.  When people meet me and find out how much I read, they seem ashamed to tell me that they don't, like I'll think less of them for having different hobbies and choosing to do something else with their time.  

 

I then feel a bit defensive myself, not wanting anyone to think that I'm thinking bad things about them.  I'd think your relatives are doing the same thing, not wanting you to think that one SIL is the smart one, while the other one is the dumb one.  One deep thinker and one shallow one.  One who is cultured and one who is not.

 

People ascribe all sorts of other unrelated characteristics to reading.


JollyGG's Avatar JollyGG 12:31 PM 12-06-2010

I'm reading this as the OP being somewhat irritated that these people felt a need to make an excuse for SIL not wanting to read rather than it just being okay that SIL is not a reader. I think she's trying to say "Why does SIL need a reason to not enjoy reading as much as I do?"


limabean's Avatar limabean 12:50 PM 12-06-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post
I hope they aren't all pissed at me because I don't "make time" to do something that I don't enjoy so as not to offend their knitty sensibilities.  So I try to be compassionate when I boggle at how people don't choose to read, which to me is probably more important than breathing.  It's not everyone's thing.  It's none of my business.  I get over it.


I have no idea how you could have gotten the impression from my posts that I think she should make time to read. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

I'm reading this as the OP being somewhat irritated that these people felt a need to make an excuse for SIL not wanting to read rather than it just being okay that SIL is not a reader. I think she's trying to say "Why does SIL need a reason to not enjoy reading as much as I do?"


Yep, exactly. This SIL is recognized as being very smart, capable, funny, etc. -- we all love her! Being a reader wouldn't improve our perception of her -- we already think highly of her. 


MusicianDad's Avatar MusicianDad 12:55 PM 12-06-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

I'm reading this as the OP being somewhat irritated that these people felt a need to make an excuse for SIL not wanting to read rather than it just being okay that SIL is not a reader. I think she's trying to say "Why does SIL need a reason to not enjoy reading as much as I do?"


That's the way I read the OP too. And really, I'd be irritated as well if people felt they had to justify a third party's lack of interest in a specific activity. Some people just don't like reading all that much, who the hell cares?


HollyBearsMom's Avatar HollyBearsMom 01:21 PM 12-06-2010

The only reason I can think of that they felt the need to make an excuse for your SIL is possible your tone/mannerisms? Maybe they spoke to her recently and she is out of her mind, having a bad week, feeling overwhelmed with 1 year old twins these days.  I am mean this time of year is stressful!

 

Were your exasperated when you were talking to them (either intentionally or unintentionally).  Maybe they interpreted what you were saying as "MIL and SIL1 are so easy to buy for because *they* are *readers* . SIL2 would be *so* much easier to buy for if she read too"  

 

Maybe their hackles got up if in the past you have made the comment about "I have two small kids too and I read every single day, because it's something I enjoy" but said in kind of snarky way especially if the emphasis on *I*.

 

With the wrong tone this could sound pretty snarky too:

"Like I must have mountains of free time, or such an easier life or something, because I make time to read (and sew, and bake, and do the other things I enjoy instead of being a martyr and then complaining about it all the time). 

 

To hear it one time, OK but now you have heard it twice. Maybe its not what you said but how you said it?


limabean's Avatar limabean 01:39 PM 12-06-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyBearsMom View Post

The only reason I can think of that they felt the need to make an excuse for your SIL is possible your tone/mannerisms? Maybe they spoke to her recently and she is out of her mind, having a bad week, feeling overwhelmed with 1 year old twins these days.  I am mean this time of year is stressful!

 

Were your exasperated when you were talking to them (either intentionally or unintentionally).  Maybe they interpreted what you were saying as "MIL and SIL1 are so easy to buy for because *they* are *readers* . SIL2 would be *so* much easier to buy for if she read too"  

 

Maybe their hackles got up if in the past you have made the comment about "I have two small kids too and I read every single day, because it's something I enjoy" but said in kind of snarky way especially if the emphasis on *I*.

 

With the wrong tone this could sound pretty snarky too:

"Like I must have mountains of free time, or such an easier life or something, because I make time to read (and sew, and bake, and do the other things I enjoy instead of being a martyr and then complaining about it all the time). 

 

To hear it one time, OK but now you have heard it twice. Maybe its not what you said but how you said it?



I've never said and wouldn't dream of saying, or even insinuating, the italicized quotes to them -- those thoughts are directed at people like my coworker who think that kids = giving up your life entirely and loudly complaining about it for the next couple of decades. The way the subject came up was that these people were checking out the tote bags I sewed for Christmas gifts this year. I mentioned how it's handy to have the gift bag be a gift in itself. Then we were talking about Christmas gifts in general, and I said, "I was at the bookstore today so I got books to put in MIL and SIL2's gift bags. I'm trying to think of something else along those lines for SIL1 since she doesn't usually read," kind of asking for input as to what would make a good similarly-priced item that would fit in the tote bag.

 

I'm sure the people who said it just thought "SIL1 >> twins >> hard >> no time" and blurted out their comment. Hearing it once didn't phase me a bit, but hearing it twice just made me notice it and think about it in more depth than I would have otherwise. But I try hard to react to people's intentions rather than their actual words, and I know that neither of these people had ill intentions. So I just had a quick vent here instead of making a big thing of it IRL, since clearly there's no need to do something like that. 


Marsupialmom's Avatar Marsupialmom 01:46 PM 12-06-2010

Why are you buying her a book if she is not a reader and she didn't ask for it? That is a gift you would like not her. I know you are buying something else, but is very frustrating when people do this. You have to force a smile and be appricative for the good intentions.

 

I do wonder if you are coming off in a fashion that you are not intending to and that is why people are saying it.  


greenemami's Avatar greenemami 01:54 PM 12-06-2010

I tend to think it is just something to say, KWIM?  Kind of small talk that everyone can kind of smile knowingly at if that makes sense-because she probably is really busy!  But I see what you mean-I got a little defensive when the librarian commented on how many books I take out a week with two small kids at home.  I think she was trying to be complimentary (obviously a librarian would support reading, lol!) but I found myself feeling like I had to prove that I didn't just sit on my butt all day ignoring my kids while I read my own book! 


nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 02:03 PM 12-06-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerchild View Post

 

 

Why on earth does this bug you so much?  While she may indeed never have been a reader, it's also probably true that she doesn't have the time.  Why are you taking that so personally?

 

 


I think it's because those making the excuse are somehow saying "you have more time to read because you don't do as much... must be nice".

 

I stay home and do daycare.  I've had people say "it must be nice to stay home all day and play with kids.. I wish I could do that".  Now, they don't MEAN it in an insulting way.  Maybe they do wish they could play with kids all day, but the comment still insults me.


limabean's Avatar limabean 02:09 PM 12-06-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

Why are you buying her a book if she is not a reader and she didn't ask for it? That is a gift you would like not her. I know you are buying something else, but is very frustrating when people do this. You have to force a smile and be appricative for the good intentions.

 

I do wonder if you are coming off in a fashion that you are not intending to and that is why people are saying it.  



What? I feel like I'm in an alternate universe. I've said repeatedly that I did NOT get her a book. I never planned to get her a book, I didn't get her a book, I have no intention of getting her a book. I'm so confused...


odenata's Avatar odenata 02:10 PM 12-06-2010

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

Why are you buying her a book if she is not a reader and she didn't ask for it? That is a gift you would like not her. I know you are buying something else, but is very frustrating when people do this. You have to force a smile and be appricative for the good intentions.

 

I do wonder if you are coming off in a fashion that you are not intending to and that is why people are saying it.  

 


headscratch.gif  The OP specifically says she's not buying her SIL a book because she doesn't enjoy reading.  She's not buying a book and something else, she's just buying something else.


HollyBearsMom's Avatar HollyBearsMom 02:16 PM 12-06-2010

I didn't mean to sound as if you meant to come across that way.  I just know (from personal experience bag.gif) that even simple statements can be misinterpreted


vbactivist's Avatar vbactivist 02:25 PM 12-06-2010


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post

Two different people have said this to me in the past week regarding SIL1. I mentioned that I had bought books for my MIL and SIL2 for Christmas, and was trying to think of something else for SIL1 since reading isn't a hobby of hers. And both people I said it to said, "Well, she doesn't have time to read." Now, granted she has 1-year-old twins so I'm sure she is pressed for free time, but she just isn't a reader, she never was. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just not a hobby of hers so I was trying to think of a different gift for her that would be in line with her hobbies. I have two small kids too and I read every single day, because it's something I enjoy. I dunno, I know they probably didn't mean anything by it, but for some reason it irked me to hear it twice like that.

 

It reminded me of a woman I work with who I call a "just you wait"er (they're cousins of the "must be nice"ers wink1.gif) -- she's kind of bitter, and when she would see me reading in the break room (pre-kids) she would always say, "Oh, just you wait, you won't get to do THAT anymore once you have kids." Well, my kids are 6 and 2 now, and I still read every day. So, I dunno, I'm just annoyed by the whole thing. Like I must have mountains of free time, or such an easier life or something, because I make time to read (and sew, and bake, and do the other things I enjoy instead of being a martyr and then complaining about it all the time). Ugh. eyesroll.gif

  I read about 100 books a year.  And whenever people here me talking about a book or something, they're always like, "I wish I had time to read".  I always mention, then, that I don't watch any TV.  That usually shuts people up pretty quickly. 
 


Smokering's Avatar Smokering 03:23 PM 12-06-2010

 

Quote:
(are E-books easier on the eyes?)

I hear they are. A woman in our church just got a Kindle because she has really bad eyesight, and she says it helps. You can enlarge the text, and the screen doesn't "glow" in a way that tires the eyes, like a computer screen can.


~PurityLake~'s Avatar ~PurityLake~ 03:32 PM 12-06-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post

What? I feel like I'm in an alternate universe. I've said repeatedly that I did NOT get her a book. I never planned to get her a book, I didn't get her a book, I have no intention of getting her a book. I'm so confused...


I know, some of the responses you've gotten have nothing to do with what you actually wrote. It's irritating because it's not true. She's not too busy to read, she doesn't want to read. And no one cares about that, all you wanted to know is what would she like, and they imply you're sitting around doing nothing but reading instead of being busy parenting like your SIL is doing. I get it. It's irritating and almost bordering on insincerity, lying or crazymaking.


One_Girl's Avatar One_Girl 08:00 PM 12-06-2010

I am an avid reader and I didn't feel like I had any time to read or do any hobby once my dd started moving a lot up until she was three unless I skipped some sleep, which made me really grumpy the next day.  I don't think that makes someone a martyr, it just means that they choose to do different things with their time.  She isn't even the one who told you she doesn't have time to read so I really don't see the connection between her choices and being a martyr.

 

I do see how it is irritating to hear people say she doesn't have time for reading (as if reading has ever been a priority for her) because you do make time for it and it must feel like they are commenting on that too.  Is it hitting a nerve because you feel guilty about your choices?  If so I think you should examine that guilt to see if it you need to change something or if you are just sensitive right now (I get sensitive and moody a few days before I have my period).  I don't think you should feel badly about having hobbies outside of being a mom.  Her babies may just have different energy levels and clinginess levels than your kids had and she may really not have time for any hobby because her children require a higher level of attention.  If she likes tea or coffee maybe you could get her a gift card or put together a gift basket with some nice cups and some really nice tea or coffee.  Some movie tickets and an offer to babysit may also be a nice gift for her or a subscription to something like netflix in her name for a couple months may go over well.


MusicianDad's Avatar MusicianDad 08:48 PM 12-06-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

Why are you buying her a book if she is not a reader and she didn't ask for it? That is a gift you would like not her. I know you are buying something else, but is very frustrating when people do this. You have to force a smile and be appricative for the good intentions.

 

I do wonder if you are coming off in a fashion that you are not intending to and that is why people are saying it.  



What? I feel like I'm in an alternate universe. I've said repeatedly that I did NOT get her a book. I never planned to get her a book, I didn't get her a book, I have no intention of getting her a book. I'm so confused...


I think this is the point where you just abandon the thread to go bang your head against the wall for a while.


CatsCradle's Avatar CatsCradle 09:06 PM 12-06-2010

Well, OP, funny you should mention all this, because I had a similar experience with my mom and SIL, but not about reading.  I sew and I've had a sewing machine for years.  I find the time to sew, even though my life is crazy busy.  My BIL recently bought a sewing machine for my sister.  My sister and I have extremely different lifestyles, to the point where sometimes I get extremely irritated (for irrational reasons) that she is JUST TOO BUSY to get anything done.  I won't go into details, but because like I said, my irritation is irrational.  After she got her sewing machine for her birthday, my mother commented that "it's a shame she won't get to use it...she just doesn't have time."   Argghh.  

 

So, I really have to step back and take a look at why this and other statements irritate me so much.  Part of it is that I place a lot of value on the activity of sewing...I enjoy it...I find the time to do it.  My sister does not place so much value on that particular activity.  I'm sure there are other activities that she prioritizes over the ones that I value.  She finds the time to do those activities.  It is tough to look at it that way, but in essence, that is what it is all about.  I just have to put my mother and others on "ignore."  It saves me a lot of grief.  :)


myk's Avatar myk 10:04 PM 12-06-2010

if i go 3 days without reading, i lose my mind. if you're not a reader that's fine. some people aren't. in my house, it doesn't matter how busy you are, you find time to read. even if it's just 15 minutes as part of your bedtime routine. so if someone said that to me, it would bug me. if you don't share my love of books, fine, but call a spade a spade and admit you'd rather do something else to relax!


Ravensong13's Avatar Ravensong13 10:20 PM 12-06-2010

I know the feeling. Was it almost said in a 'nose in the air' kind of way? Like sil has more important things to do than spend all her time reading? I have a friend( sort of friend) who says things like that all the time. I say, 'Oh, how in the world do I know the words to this song that just came on the radio? I don't think I've ever heard it before'. She says, 'Oh, I don't know this song because *I* don't ever listen to the radio anymore'. Alright.... good for you. Didn't realize radio was only for the peasants now your highness.headscratch.gif I think, like some of the previous posters said, some people feel the need to get defensive about the fact that they don't read often. Maybe just ask sil directly what she might like? I've taken to warning all my relatives that if they don't tell me what they would like for gifts this holiday season I will be getting them books, lol.


Marsupialmom's Avatar Marsupialmom 08:44 AM 12-07-2010

Wow, sorry I misread your orginal post.  it wasn't on purpose got caught up in mil, sil1, sil2 and got confused. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post





What? I feel like I'm in an alternate universe. I've said repeatedly that I did NOT get her a book. I never planned to get her a book, I didn't get her a book, I have no intention of getting her a book. I'm so confused...


LROM's Avatar LROM 09:34 AM 12-07-2010



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post

Why are you buying her a book if she is not a reader and she didn't ask for it? That is a gift you would like not her. I know you are buying something else, but is very frustrating when people do this. You have to force a smile and be appricative for the good intentions.

 

I do wonder if you are coming off in a fashion that you are not intending to and that is why people are saying it.  



What? I feel like I'm in an alternate universe. I've said repeatedly that I did NOT get her a book. I never planned to get her a book, I didn't get her a book, I have no intention of getting her a book. I'm so confused...

I made the same mistake as Marsupialmom and only realized it when I read your response - the way you wrote your original post, it sounds like you got your MIL and SIL books, then were trying to think of something else for SIL.  Now re-reading it, I see you got your MIL and ONE SIL books, and you have ANOTHER SIL that doesn't read much so you are trying to think of something different for her.  It's something about how you wrote it, I also thought "Why is she buying her a book at all if she knows she doesn't like to read??" but now I see there are two SILs.

 


~PurityLake~'s Avatar ~PurityLake~ 11:41 AM 12-07-2010

It didn't sound like that at all to me LROM. I just read what she wrote and it was quite simple and straightforward, especially compared to some convoluted back stories I've read here on MDC. wink1.gif


newbymom05's Avatar newbymom05 01:23 PM 12-07-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

Well, OP, funny you should mention all this, because I had a similar experience with my mom and SIL, but not about reading.  I sew and I've had a sewing machine for years.  I find the time to sew, even though my life is crazy busy.  My BIL recently bought a sewing machine for my sister.  My sister and I have extremely different lifestyles, to the point where sometimes I get extremely irritated (for irrational reasons) that she is JUST TOO BUSY to get anything done.  I won't go into details, but because like I said, my irritation is irrational.  After she got her sewing machine for her birthday, my mother commented that "it's a shame she won't get to use it...she just doesn't have time."   Argghh.  

 

So, I really have to step back and take a look at why this and other statements irritate me so much.  Part of it is that I place a lot of value on the activity of sewing...I enjoy it...I find the time to do it.  My sister does not place so much value on that particular activity.  I'm sure there are other activities that she prioritizes over the ones that I value.  She finds the time to do those activities.  It is tough to look at it that way, but in essence, that is what it is all about.  I just have to put my mother and others on "ignore."  It saves me a lot of grief.  :)


 

This post to me sums up the issue. When this poster's mother says about the SIL's sewing machine " "it's a shame she won't get to use it...she just doesn't have time" it's hard not to read that as "she won't be sewing because she doesn't have time to waste sitting around sewing like you do." If I were the OP or this poster, I'd be offended too, not because my SIL or sis doesn't enjoy and value my hobby, but rather b/c my mom/whoever is de-valuing my hobby by implying that it's not worthy of the other person's time. Why not just admit the other person doesn't like the activity, w/ the unspoken result that they don't want to devote the time to it? That, to me, is different (and less offensive) than implying that pursuing the hobby is a luxury of idleness, or something not important enough to do.


TEAK's Mom's Avatar TEAK's Mom 06:53 PM 12-07-2010

OP, I completely understand. I have noticed lately that people treat reading as a lazy thing to do. Important people are too busy to read. Here's the thing, all of the people who have said this sort of thing to me lately also spend a lot of time watching television and playing video games. Personally, I want everyone to spend their leisure time in the way that they enjoy most, but I get frustrated when TV is treated as a necessity and reading as an indulgence. Do what you like and let me do the same.


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