Friday, September 08, 2006

You lose

As I have a night to myself, without anything to do, I had intended to write a little bit about my life for your amusement. However, I haven't read a book in a long time and I always forget that I go a little crazy when I - unlike Gumby - don't walk into a book every once in awhile.

My roommate Paige moved out and it easier to breathe now. I liked her quite a bit. She was a little odd and treated Daniel and I a little bit like peasants, but she came out of her academic reverie and engaged me in conversation when I came home emotionally agitated in any way and, for that, I can dub the experience of living with her as positive. However, now that she is gone, my soul sits a little more comfortably and deeply in the armchair of home.

I mention Paige because my abandonment tonight of you, my gentle readers, is the result of a confluence of consequences of her departure.

The first of these is that I was able to unpack some of my books from storage. I haven't been living without books, mind you. When I moved to Orcas, I chose out maybe 30 books that I thought I might need or want to read while I was on the island and took those with me. (Yes, it is possible to need a certain book.) I did this when I was in college, as well, when I knew space was limited. I think I was the only freshman in college who could write an entire analysis paper on Greek mythology without ever hitting the library. Every book in that bibliography was part of the personal library that I had foreseen I would need. Anyway, I took about 30 books with me and added to that collection slightly as a result of working at a used book store and at the community re-use facility. Actually, I'm pretty proud of the restraint that I showed in not accumulating books that I really didn't need just because they were cheap and available.

Especially now that I see some of the dross that I have added to the gold of my personal library in the life I lived before Orcas. When Paige left two bookcases and an entire room of space, I went to my parents' house and chose a trunk-full of boxes randomly from the legion of boxes marked only, "books." Sometimes, "books - teacher" or "music books." I did grab two of the teacher boxes because my best friend, Susan, is doing her student teaching in high school English and I just happen to own most of the high school English canon to loan to her. But the other boxes were entirely random.

And I must say, I'm a little disappointed in my previous self. I guess I'm a little bit of a book collector. The books that I unpacked can fall into eight categories: books-I-will-read-again-every-couple-of-years; books-I-read-once-and-was-intrigued-enough-to-keep-them-in-case-I-ever-found-anyone-perfect-to-give-them-to; books-that-I-would-have-a-hard-time-finding-again-if-I-needed-it-as-cheaply-as-I-bought-this-particular-copy; books-every-self-respecting-science-fiction-nerd-should-have-on-her-bookshelf; books-written-or-edited-by-Isaac-Asimov (not the same as the previous category); books-I-really-should-read-one-of-these-days; the aforementioned books-I-might-need-for-lesson-plan-one-day; and Walden Two by B.F. Skinner. The part where I'm disappointed in myself is the part where about 10% of the books that I unpacked don't actually fit into one of those categories and are just taking up space because I bought them at a used book store for $.50 and now the used book stores won't buy them back. I should just throw those out but I'm too weak to do it.

On a side note, I also unpacked some of my old yearbooks and since I am dating a man that I went to college with but never met until recently, of course I looked him up. Ewww. Matt-the-man instills much more confidence in the heart of a woman that he's not going to slip something in her drink than Matt-the-frat-boy. All the hair in the world wouldn't convince me to choose that younger Matt. Let's thank God for the unlikely evasion of each other in a graduating class of only 350 from the years of 1995-1999.

However, back to the books. Among the first category were several Lord Peter books, which are the only mystery novels I will read and I have read most of them two or three times already in the last ten years. Hooray, Dorothy Sayers! I hav been pining for Lord Peter and Harriet Vane probably because of this new romance. Steven Gould's Blind Waves makes the short list of books and I read that a couple of weeks ago since I always have a couple of it on my book shelf. It is the perfect blend of romance, adventure and science fiction for a girl like me. The first time I read it, I absolutely fell in love with the relationship of the two protagonists and was delighted to find out in the afterward that they had been based upon Lord and Lady Whimsey. Of course! But ever since reading it again, I've been pining for the real thing and only had a copy of The Five Red Herrings, which must have been a concept novel because the transliteration of the dialect of some rural British Isle renders it almost completely unreadable. So, when I unpacked Strong Poison, which is the novel in which Lord Peter first meets Harriet Vane, the peace that my soul was already feeling because Paige moved out deepened, like added cushions into the space between my body and the arms of the chair. I've read that on the train the last couple of days and figured I'd finish it tonight before going on to do something constructive.

However, this is where the second consequence of Paige's leaving comes into view. Although I made chocolate chip cookies a few days ago, I ran out of milk after that first day. So, wanting cookies but having nothing to wash down their super-sweetness (I used milk chocolate chips), I made a pot of oolong tea. Did you hear that? I made a pot of tea! I have not made a pot of tea in a year because neither of the teapots that live in this apartment were ever clean. She used them in rotation, letting the dregs of one pot get cloudy and collect a film of oil from the deglazing of pans while using the other like a chain smoker, adding new hot water and new tea bags to the dregs as they cooled before she would accidentally let the active pot go unattended for a few hours because she actually left the house and then, upon returning, she would decide that the active pot deserved some time to form its own film (as if that were an inalienable right of teapots) and washed the pot with older dregs out, disposing of the week-old tea bags that had been floatingf laccidly in the liquid.

So, with a pot of tea, homemade cookies and the discovery that the second book of Lord Peter and Ms. Vane's courtship was also on bookshelf, you lose. I will not entertain you tonight with stories from my life. Really. You can't twist my arm.


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