Friday, February 3, 2012

R We Who We R?

     I found the missing book for the boyfriend's birthday while browsing a Barnes 'n' Noble downstate.  He was preoccupied, so I dashed to the (well-hidden) checkout.  The girl behind the counter complimented my make up, which is something I always like.  But then she proceeded to go on and on and on about their rewards program, even after I explained we have none of their stores in my area.  Fearful of being caught, I told her I'd check it out, took my receipt, and shoved everything in my purse.  He was awed by my cunning when I told him the story after he opened the gift.  I believe he now has half a dozen books in his reading queue, which is quite impressive for someone who claims to not like reading.  He stayed up until almost 3 last night reading a book called Outliers (which he received for Christmas.)  Meanwhile, I passed out over my copy of Catcher in the Rye.

     Ah, Salinger.  I admit I haven't read any of his other works, but Catcher in the Rye is one that I come back to again and again.  I first read it in high school for English, and I wasn't sure I liked it.  Sometimes I will go back to a book after a long period to see if my feelings on it change.  The past couple times, I found some of it boring and hard to follow.  This time, I finally get it.  I think Holden is, in a way, like everyone-- struggling.  In my earlier years though I had been through some rough things, I still lacked the cynicism to appreciate his thinking.  Now, after a number of years living 'in the real world' (and in a job that requires servicing others), I can relate a little too well.  If Holden were a real person and I met him, I might kind of think he's an ass.  He is, for one, a self-proclaimed liar.  He loves to mess with people, and anyone who is any less straightforward than myself pisses me off (meaning that the general populace drives me mad.) 

     Being in his head, however, changes things considerably.  I get it.  He gets it.  We're similar people, which momentarily makes me wonder if I should worry.  But no, Holden and I are right-- people as a whole are ignorant, phony, automatic.  I have been told numerously by different people that I am socially awkward.  I lack the grace, the finesse, the ability to win people over with nauseating charm.  At first those words hurt, but now I'm kind of okay with that.  Social acceptability is a trap.  Play by the rules, and you find you must do this do that be this think that don't say do think act out of line.  The thing is, I am bold.  Some would say tactless, and perhaps that's true.  The thing I can't figure out, though-- when did honesty and cold hard truth become outlawed?

     I feel as though I've gotten way off topic, ended up turning in a direction I never meant to follow.  Oddly, I'm okay with that.  So maybe, if you've made it this far, you can answer this question-- why isn't it okay to be real?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don't stop.

     I've been meaning to post for weeks, but always find an excuse not to.  After much contemplating, hair-pulling, and general hemming and hawing, I've come to one very simple conclusion:  I'm so afraid to post the wrong thing that I end up not posting at all.  All truly 'great bloggers' are witty and insightful, qualities that I don't have.  I would like to make this about life in general and not just books, but have had no clue where to start.  I decided today to start with something other than me, so here goes nothing...

     My boyfriend has been acting very strangely lately.  And I don't mean in a sitcom-y covering-something-up sort of way.  I mean very sudden, complete 180 sort of change. 

     It began about a month before Christmas when I asked what he would like for the holidays.  I got typical answers-- CDs, movies, miscellaneous items.  I was listening, nodding, making mental notes.  And then he said "There's this book I really want, too." 

     I felt my eyeballs pop out of my head, slime down my cheeks, and plop onto the floor.  Allow me to explain this gross and unrealistic reaction:

     He is readily the first to admit that, until about 6 months ago, he'd never finished a book in his entire life.  He has never understood my obsessive love for the hundreds of tomes that take up shelves upon shelves in the corner of the bedroom, just a bit to left of one of his prized televisions.  I suspect he secretly finds it a bit silly.  So for someone with such a lack of history with the glorious act of reading is like someone who hates science asking for a microscope.  For years he has resisted my schemes to get his nose in the pages.

     But it didn't stop there; another week or two went by, and he requested another book!  Two books?!  That's twice as many as he'd ever read!  He really wanted two books?  It seemed crazy to me, but that's what he wanted so that's what he got.  He also seemed interested in yet another while we were out one day, so I got it for him on audio.  (He drives quite a bit so I thought it would give him something interesting to listen to during the long hours.) 

     It doesn't even stop there.

     His birthday is a mere 5 weeks after Christmas, so I usually start scrambling for other gift ideas soon after.  He's mentioned a few things here and there, asked specifically for a couple CDs, and... another book?!?!  Yes.  That book came in the mail yesterday.  The day before I was browsing a bookstore with a friend and text the boyfriend to ask if there was anything else he wanted.  He requested (wait for it...) another book.  And another.  One I couldn't find, but the other was in my hands once an employee pointed me in the right direction.

     I wrapped all his gifts today (excluding one that is still in transit), and the big day is next week.  I'm excited to see the genuine joy when he unwraps the heavy, bound pages.  He'll have a nice little stack going, and though it make take him as long as it'll take me to get through the 60+ waiting for me, it's worth sitting next to him and seeing him engrossed in something that an infinite number of people have been doing for thousands and thousands of years.

     Did I mention that he recently finished reading a novel for school?  In a relatively short time, too, and he seems pretty proud of himself.  I hope it doesn't stop there.