Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Longing

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I'm a huge bibliophile. I would buy books before food if I didn't have kids. I would buy books before just about anything.

Sometimes, I don't even want to read them, I just want to have them. Because someday I might need to know something about embalming. And coffee table books? Please. They are like crack to me.

Even though I purge periodically (and it causes me great pain to part with books, even those I didn't particularly enjoy) because we have limited space, I still have far too many books to store properly. I have several large moving boxes in the garage full of books. They are too heavy to move, so they have been sitting there for years. I really have no idea what is in them anymore.

I couldn't part with any of my boys' books either. I adore children's books that are cleverly written or have beautiful illustrations and there were only a few that I could actually bring myself to give away. I collect vintage children's books and have several that I dearly loved as a child; most notably, "Miss Suzie" and "Never Tease a Weasel".

So anyway. Yeah. I'm hardcore. It's a sickness, really.

Today I was at the grocery store trying to spend as few dollars as possible to feed us until Monday, which is payday. With the accident and several other unexpected expenses, it's been close.

And what should I happen to spy in the greeting card/magazine/literary aisle? The long awaited sequel to one of my favorite books of all time Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

I gasped and plucked it off the shelf. I felt a mixture of longing and trepidation as I caressed the slick dustjacket and savored the delicious heaviness in my hand. Sequels are always a crap shoot. They are either transcendantly satisfying, or surpassingly disappointing.

The cover price of World Without End was $26.95.

$26.95 buys a lot of Beenie Weenie and Chef Boy Ar Dee. But dear Lord how I wanted that book. I hesitated a moment and then, with a pang of guilt, placed it gently in the front of the cart where it was cradled by the pliant leather of my ridiculously large and floppy handbag.

I wheeled that book all over the store like a cherished infant. I appreciated the pleasing cover art. I skimmed the forward several times, hoping to dissuade myself. I studied the author's picture, looking for wisdom in his bemused gaze.

As I travelled through the store, more and more items found their way into my cart. Oh yes, we need orange juice. Goodness, I forgot we're out of butter. Oh my God, they make birthday cake ice cream? Hmmm...dill relish 2 for $3? That's a good deal and we go through it like crazy. Oh and...SIGH...Pre-Pubescent One needs poster board and Diminutive One needs a new composition book because his fell under the bus.

As my mental tally reached the meagre limit of our distressed checking account, I was forced to admit that the book had to go back on the shelf.

Two days. Two days until payday and then I can go back and buy it.

But I want it nooooooowwwww!

I coud hear the petulance echoing inside my head. But adults aren't allowed to throw I want it nows. And so, I took it back to the shelf and placed it in the neat row with its companions.

I remembered back to the days when my money was my own. I started earning when I was just 10 years old. First it was a paper route, then babysitting, then a job cashiering at Shopko. I could spend my money on designer jeans, swatches, albums and eyeshadow. I never gave a second thought to what anybody else needed, or what bills had to paid. It was all about what I wanted.

And I thought to myself that sometimes being a grown up blows chunks.

And then I felt guilty. Because I can buy food. I can buy dill relish that's 2 for $3, even though we don't really need two. It's tight this week, but not always. And I know we'll make it okay.

And I wondered what it would be like to wander these aisles and not be able to afford ice cream and dill relish.

That. Would blow chunks.

And suddenly, the longing is gone. The book is nothing because I can buy Chef Boy Ar Dee if I need to.

Funny how perspective comes out of nowhere sometimes.

16 Comments:

  • At 9:53 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    lovely post. And this book: "Never Tease a Weasel". I must find it. My husband calls our daughter "weasel" I must find myself a copy! going to google search now...

     
  • At 10:47 PM, Anonymous mel from freak parade said…

    You are so right. We all could use a reminder like this from time to time. I know I needed that. Great post.

     
  • At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I read Pillars of the Earth a couple of months ago because you listed it on your sidebar. Great book, can't wait for the next one... though for me, it will be a wait for the library's copy. I used to buy so many books. I used to wander around bookstores muttering about starting a 12 step program called Bookbuyers Anonymous. After living in several small places and being very tight on money, I got in the habit of going to the library. I very seldom buy fiction anymore... though I'm often frustrated when I want to share a book with someone and don't have it to loan. Oh well. Good for you for waiting and thanks much for the book leads!

     
  • At 12:31 AM, Blogger flutter said…

    truth. You'll get the book, and you will enjoy it now, with your perspective

     
  • At 4:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I heard the author of _World Without End_ interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live on Thursday. I am sure it is available as a podcast if you wnated to hear it via the BBC web site (Simon Mayo's show). The book sounds massive, but very very good for those are fans of his _Pillars of the Earth_.

    You are so right about being grateful for what we have. It is all a matter of perspective isn't it? We have access to clean drinking water, straight from the tap. How many people in the world even have that? Just having a roof over our head, clean water, clothes on our back and food in the cupboards and fridge are enough to make me truly thankful.

    In the world which I live I am terribly middle class, but in the world we all live in I am exceedingly wealthy. It is all a matter of perspective, isn't it?

     
  • At 11:29 AM, Blogger Pendullum said…

    So bang on the money....

     
  • At 1:10 PM, Blogger Tracey said…

    Perspective is good.

    Let me say one more thing:

    ahem.

    LI.BRA.RY.

     
  • At 1:49 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    Damn. You are so so right. I need to remember this post.

     
  • At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Pgoodness said…

    Indeed. Being an adult sometimes sucks, but perspective is an important lesson at any age. Thanks for the reminder. I, too, am a book addict. Seriously, it's an issue, so I feel your pain and have walked around with a book in my cart like a baby as well.

     
  • At 7:33 PM, Blogger Amy York said…

    I'm a book~aholic too... I could stay stuck in the house for a year and have enough reading material to entertain me for the bigger part of each day. Thank goodness for paperbackswap.com so I can feed my habit on a budget :)

    Hope things loosen up a bit financially soon...

     
  • At 8:51 PM, Blogger laundrylessons said…

    I'm right there with you, or should I say, under a pile of books with you.

    A few years ago I looked at my book buying habit. Being in a book group that meets monthly, I felt obligated to buy the book. Why? After mulling it around, I decided to bite the bullet and curb my habit. I use the library exclusively for fiction. Living in a big city, I have access to the whole county and can usually have most books within a couple weeks. I know, not instant gratification, but you're so right...we do have to rethink what we need and what we want.

     
  • At 9:40 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    You have a lot of wisdom.

    And I loved the book "Miss Suzie" as a child, too. When I found it reasonably priced at an antique store, I snatched it up. My children now enjoy it, too.

     
  • At 10:02 PM, Blogger Cathy said…

    Excellent post. Before kids, I ordered from Amazon like mad. Now I print out the wish list and and take it to the library. Not the same thrill I experienced when a package arrived in the mail, but ...

     
  • At 10:41 PM, Blogger Amanda said…

    Try www.paperbackswap.com and you may become addicted.

    Also, try ebay for the book. You might can find it cheaper??

     
  • At 7:45 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    Because I am such a bibliophile, I have created a book swap at work. I bring in all the books I have read ( that i don't want to keep) and leave them in a bookcase in my office. My co-workers have begun to do the same. it is wonderful.

    BTW, I noticed, when my washer exploded that the local laundromat does the same thing.

    My daughter is worse than me. She simply CANNOT give up books, and we just refinished her 3rd bookcase for her new apartment. Shortly, she is going to need another! If a person must have an addiction, I think reading is a great one to suffer from.

     
  • At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have more bad news for you: the book you mentioned liking, The Descent, has the second part of a trilogy out now called, "Deeper."

    I had never heard of "The Descent" or therefore, "Deeper" but due to your post on your favourite heros, I went to the bookstore looking for The Descent. It was not available - however, I then came across "Deeper." I bought it. Shoot me. It's quite interesting. In fact it is interesting enough that I now have to get The Descent as well as keeping an eye out for the 3rd book of the trilogy. Damn, I hate series type books. It blows my budget all to hell.

    I also have my eye on the Pillars of the Earth sequel and carried it around the bookstore for a LONG time and decided right at that moment I couldn't justify the purchase. I will first work my way through all the other books I have bought that I couldn't afford but just had to have, and then I will buy the sequel to Pillars of the Earth, which I still really am not able to afford, but which I will buy nevertheless.

     

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