Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This is Tara, Mr. Steinbeck

Mice, men, getting laid, having plans. Schemes on rye toast.
Want to guess what did and did not happen Sunday?
You don't need to guess. You know.
MathMan suggested that my book choice is the problem. It isn't compelling enough for me. Bless his heart. That is not the problem. I am the problem. I can't make myself focus. One thing turns into another. Wiping down the kitchen counter ends with me cleaning out a closet while phoning my father to find out what year he got his first pair of roller skates.
Things derailed quickly. Sophie announced she was hungry. I referred her to my blog post.
A few minutes later, she returned to my room sporting an expression I couldn't quite make out. Maybe it was  resolve. She was going to make pancakes. Pancakes sounded good to me, too, but without providing some level of sanitation supervision, I wouldn't want to eat them. I'd help if only to avoid taking a bite of pancake only to find a long hair in it, I told my inner control freak.
Okay, so pancakes. That was it. After that, I'd read.
But first I had to play Words with Friends with Sarah W. (she's kicking my butt!) and four other people (so are they!) because it would be rude to leave them hanging.
A great wailing from the kitchen alerted me to the absence of milk with which to douse the cereal the children would be having for three meals apparently. Such carrying on.
Okay. A trip to the grocery because we needed more than milk and no one else can be trusted to do the coupons correctly. Must make that list and remember the reusable bags.
After the store, I told myself, I'd read. There was still time.
The girls and I returned from the store. MathMan had made dinner so we had a meal together followed by a brief celebration of National Ice Cream Day. Oh, Ben & Jerry, we hardly knew ye.
I waddled upstairs, back into reaching distance of the novel. In a minute, I whispered to the stonyfaced dust jacket. I had to wash my face and apply an anti-aging mask. Oh, and tidy up my nails, fix the cuticles, file them, buff them.
And, oh for heaven's sake, can no one else ever scrub the damn toilet and sink? Better do that before my nails.
More Words with Friends, a quick check of Facebook and Twitter told me that everyone was retroactively having fun at Mitt Romney's expense and that would be Breaking Bad. See! That didn't take long. No celebrity deaths to clutter up the feeds with RIPs, no sports happening. I enjoyed a sense of smugness. I was all caught up even if I couldn't find a way to use that dang Z in my game with Sarah.
I returned to the bathroom to rinse the mask from my face. MathMan joined me upstairs. I thought he must not be feeling well. Turned out he was playing with his Atomic Fart app on his phone. Again.
I sat down with the novel and began flicking the pages. That would fix him for providing a long, squishy soundtrack to my trip to the WC. He and his phone could turn a quick tinkle into a severe gastrointestinal event.
MathMan doesn't like it when I flick the pages of any book. He says it's because it's bad for the book and the ghost of his mother the Librarian will haunt me if I don't stop. I know it's because he can't tune out the sound of it like he can tune out the sound of my voice.
He grabbed the spray bottle he keeps on hand to discourage the cats from getting onto our bed and aimed it in my direction. He is a crack shot. I stared at him hard and gave the pages a definitive flick.
This would not end well.
We called a truce. If I read now without flicking the pages, it would appear he won. If I read and flicked the pages, I was breaking the truce. I put the book on the night stand and sighed. We watched a third of an episode of Downton Abbey, one Foyle's War episode, and the new Inspector Lewis - Generation of Vipers (I have the worst crush on Sergeant Hathaway) before finally falling asleep.
Despite the fact that I read zero pages of the intended novel, the day was not wasted. I even managed to do somethings just for me. I ran an hour on the elliptical and finished off my manicure with a lovely shade of purple. I can live with that.
Taking the Scarlet O'Hara approach helps, too. It is another day. I have another chance to read to my heart's content.
I have the day off.
Are you a rifle or a shotgun?


  1. I' ve been a baaaaaad blogger buddy!!!! I have missed your salient, perverse and hysterical ruminations on all things life-related. But it's been fun "catching up" today. Can't wait to read your own book in a .... well, okay, it'll never be in a day. I'm just not built that way... But you get my drift.

    1. Hi, Barb! I know what you mean. I read your posts and start to make a comment and then get pulled away (maybe I shouldn't be sneaking reads at work?) and then bang! The day is gone, I close down my computer and forget which windows I had open.

      Your blog has had some wonderful posts even if I haven't been there to tell you so.

  2. Your attention span is exactly like mine. I could have written this, minus the cats.

    1. I'm glad it's not just me, CDP. It's nice to see you, BTW! I've been thinking about you.

  3. Man, you young people are so scattershot.

  4. Two shout-outs in one day? Cool! :)

    I'm more of a room full of ping-pong balls, as you well know.

    (ping-pong balls who rule in WWF . . . until certain people find a use for their Zs)

  5. This post gave me a vague and generalized sense of anxiety surrounding the passing of time and how much of said time I waste instead of doing what I really want. All in all, a blog post that prompts quiet desperation in your readers is a successful blog post.

    The last time I read a book in a day was WILD by Cheryl Strayed. It was a Tuesday and I was home sick from work. I sat in bed with the cats reading and every couple of hours or so I'd think, "Maybe I can try to get up and do something else now" but I never did. It was awesome.

  6. I find it's much easier to focus on stuff I want to do (like take pictures of butterflies, deer, and such as) then to focus on stuff I think I should do.

    Perhaps this is common to our species?

  7. lol, your day sounds a lot like me. Hectic ain't the word for it, and I don't get to my reading like I insist I want to either. I'm doing Sinclair's Jungle, which I should have read in high school but never did, don't ask me why. Rifle? yeah, I like to think I am, though I have never once thought to compare myself to a weapon. I'm married to a shotgun. I wonder what that means.

  8. This is so typical. I do it all of the time. But I'm 3/4 of the way through Gone Girl -- it's hard to put down!

  9. I happened to read a whole book in a day (Sunday night) -- Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, by Melanie Rehak. I did not PLAN to read it in one overnight; it just evolved that way. Think if I planned specifically to read a book in a day, it wouldn't happen...some kind of reverse rule about planning in Free Time...

  10. I; my, friend am a Nerf gun.


  11. My good intentions for writing are often foiled by the need to buy food for the family. I am, sadly, not very prone to cleaning spells, though.

  12. I'm neither. I don't know what I am. Anybody have the name of a good therapist?

    Yesterday I wrote and edited what I wrote for a solid 7 hours. That's the longest single-sitting for the ass-in-chair theory. It was exhausting.

    But then there was wine.

  13. I've been sitting here staring into space for the last two minutes wondering if I'm a rifle or a shotgun; I've come to the conclusion I'm more of a slingshot - a long, hard pull followed by a quick release.

    This was a great post. Your capacity to make me laugh is boundless.

  14. I'm more of a zip gun. Improvised from random materials, prone to last minute conversions, and always illegal.

    I'm trying to slog my way through "Piece by Piece" by Tori Amos. It's been about 2 months now, and I'm only on chapter two. I've stopped no less than 40 times so far, asking myself if I'm high. [The Real Sudafed has since negated the need to ask.]

    I can't stick with much of anything right now. As my co-worker so accurately noted the other day, my medication is making me act like "A Spider Monkey with ADD".

  15. I'm single with only a tiny dog and a cat to distract me and STILL the only time I create to read is right before bed, which gives me maybe 10 good minutes before my eyes glaze over and my head slumps forward. The next day I have no memory of what I read the night before and so have to go back several pages and re-read. It's an endless game of Chutes and Fucking Ladders. And yet I keep downloading books with every intention of reading them. I suck.

  16. Lisa, you just described my every day for the past few weeks! I cannot focus to save my life, I've been forever distracted and derailed this whole month!


And then you say....

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