Search This Blog

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fire in the Tub!

I believe the Book to be a sacred object—the heft of one held tightly in my hands or lying open in my lap is a tangible reminder of how a person’s vision can be manifested into a physical thing, a way for the characters and places an author has imagined to inhabit our world in a real way.  My affinity for books, especially a new book, doesn’t end with the feel of it, though.  I like the way books smell.  If I’m very still at my desk at work and hold my head just right, I’m almost certain that I can detect the fresh ink and paper smells that mix so pleasingly with the scent of Joe Mugs coffee two blocks away at Books-A-Million.   It’s an intoxicating amalgamation of aromas that tempts me on a daily basis to leave Little Sister to take her own calls from solicitors and telemarketers for a couple of hours while I stumble drunk-like through the aisles of fiction at BAM.  In the new era of kindles, nooks, iPads and other e-readers, I have been hesitant to give up these favorite sensory experiences for the convenience and novelty of digital media…until Little Sister presented me with a Kindle Fire HD at Christmas, that is.
Maybe Little Sister noticed that the ample bookshelf in my bedroom is always overflowing?  Maybe she suspected I tend to spend more money than I should on books that it takes me months to get around to reading?  Maybe she was feeling a little guilty over her Staples Rewards and Ebates-hoarding ways and therefore extra-generous?  Maybe she was looking for new means to keep me chained to my desk for a full work week?  Who can say for sure?  All I do know is that I am now hopelessly in love with an ultra-light, shiny black rectangle that smells like…glass.
I’ve read or listened to FIVE unabridged titles since December 26th.  That’s more books in 16 days than I read the entire second half of 2012.   I’m like a junkie scoring a fix for as little as $2.99 every three days!  I’m not eating.  I’m not sleeping.  I walk from point A to point B clutching my new toy, snug in a protective leather case, like Charlie Brown’s Linus and his blankey!  I’m making great strides in plowing through my reading list.  Truth is I’m reading all the time:  at my desk, in the car-rider line at school, during half-time at basketball games—virtually everywhere except for my absolute favorite reading place of all:  the tub.
All of my favorite books have watermarks at the bases of their spines—I only invite a really great book into the tub with me—and here is where my new love affair with the Kindle Fire HD is being tested.  How does one justify lolling in near-boiling hot water for at least an hour with a $300 electronic gadget gifted to her by her new favorite sibling?  I risked steam-induced water damage to finish Veronica Roth’s gripping Divergent several days ago, but sitting erect and leaning over the side of the tub to hold my kindle away from my body and tub water wasn’t relaxing in the least and I won’t be trying it again.  Print media in the form of traditionally published books will always have a place in my heart…and my bathtub.
How about you?  Have you embraced e-readers?  Do you have a preferred device?   I’d love to hear about your reading experiences. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dads: The Ultimate in Dateable?

As a twenty-year-old my dating standards were off-balance.  A handsome face was #1 on my Dateable Checklist.  A job or even the pursuit of a job didn’t rank at all.  How was Mr. Right supposed to shower me with attention if he was spending copious amounts of time in classes or at work?  Second only to an honest-to-goodness career as a deal breaker, was a child.  Again, how was I supposed to be the center of some guy’s universe when there was a potentially adorable offspring walking around with half his DNA needing at least that much of his time and income?  A man with a child was un-dateable as far as I was concerned.
Fast forward some years later (cough, fifteen), and I cringe with shame over those sentiments.  What an idiot!  These days I’m hesitant to date a man UNLESS he has children.  As a parent myself, how else can I be sure that a potential mate understands the rigorous, often unexpected demands of parenting unless he too has been vomited on by a teary toddler at 5:30 a. m. or had to run to Wal-Mart on a Sunday night for emergency fourth grade project supplies?  How can I know that he isn’t still living in the fairytale land of air brushed abdomens that exist only in the pages of his Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition unless he has real world experience with a belly distended by an actual human being growing inside of it?  How can I be assured that he is capable of being a sensitive and loving step-father if he isn’t already a great father to his own children?
The answer to the question “So, do you have kids?” posed to a man I’m interested in getting to know can actually be an answer to countless others:  Ever seen a stretch mark up close and personal?  Can you appreciate the beauty of a breast that’s been suckled near constantly for thirteen straight months?  Do you know what it feels like to have your heart walk around outside of your body?  Is there a human being on Earth you would lay down and die for AFTER you’ve constructed him or her a perfect replica of a volcano that erupts on cue?
I don’t mean to imply that there are no childless men out there that aren’t sensitive to women’s body issues.  Any one of those same men would most likely make an excellent father to a woman’s future children and/or a loving step-father to any children she already has.  Being childless doesn’t make a man un-dateable, but having a kid or three, especially if they love their Dad to the moon and back, definitely bumps him to the top of my list…just under Employed and Possessing 98% of his teeth.