This is my favorite time of the year. When we turn the clocks back and it gets dark at four in the afternoon. I seem to be in the minority. So I have to ask myself, why do I love it so much? And the answer pops right up. Because it gives me permission to read. In the daytime!
I don’t know why or who or when someone told me I couldn’t just sit down and get cozy with a book when the sun was shining. Why I had to wait as if it were some kind of perverted clandestine act I had to keep secret. But there has always been this unwritten reading rule in my life. Wait until dark for this guilty pleasure of yours.
So now that dark comes earlier and reading comes earlier I should be in my glory. But something, (god knows what), has shifted and dark comes and I go to my stack of books and instead of reading I grab my phone and begin scrolling. Get thee behind me devil Instagram. Your pup socks. Oh the cuteness! Socks with a picture of your golden retriever. It’s the perfect gift!
And then Bernie on Howard Schultz; Don’t claim you love your employees if you are union busting and firing 120 union leaders. And then all those adorable little baby mozarts, playing piano with their daddys, their dogs, their gray haired gramma’s. And the owls! OMG the mama owls; feeding entire mice to their tiny owlets. And there’s Sioux with her night blooming cereus! I want one. I want one. At least I want to go over there at two in the morning just to smell the exotic perfume of sensuality.
The pile of books is giving me dirty looks. I thought you couldn’t wait for your reading season. Well, hello. We’re sitting here and you’re doing what you swore you’d never do; waste time on that thing.You even judged your friends for “going down the rabbit hole.” What do you call this? Going up Jacob’s ladder? I put the thing down but it’s not a book I pick up next. It’s email. I mean I’ll just answer a few. I can’t not respond. These are people. Waiting.
And then there’s the camera. The immediate gratification of snapping (well there’s no snapping just like there’s no reading) and getting the shot, deleting what’s not postable and taking a few more (turns out I’m actually a brilliant photographer).
So you know where this is going. Which I guess is how and why I rationalized listening to books in the car. When the readers are good, it’s such a pleasurable trip into town. But then I have to answer to my stack. Is it really reading? When someone asks “did you read the new Steven King novel?” can I say yes? If, in fact, my hands never touched a page and there was no curling up.
Is reading going to go the way of the eight track? Am I going to be partly responsible for Bunch of Grapes closing? My friend Colin McEnroe has written about the same dilemma and he said he thinks driving and listening’s relationship to reading is along the lines of liposuction’s relationship to exercise. That did it. Maybe I’ll throw my phone into Seth’s Pond and get back to my abandoned mountain of best sellers. Oh but wait. The sun is setting. And look at that swath of magenta. I’ll just grab my …