This is my payment for photography work I did for Traci. Traci has a side business making cakes. I have no business taking photographs. And since I have no business taking photographs, I don’t ask for payment. But when Traci offered to pay me in German Chocolate cake I wasn’t going to say no. I’m not stupid.
I have a problem this week. C lent me a few of his books. That’s not a problem. The problem is that C pretends he likes to read, but he’s not a real reader.
C had me fooled for a long time, and I even lent him three of my favorite books, but it’s been almost a year and he still hasn’t read any of them. And I’m kinda worried. What if they’re in his house for so long that he thinks they belong to him? Or worse, what if they’re in the house for so long that his wife thinks they belong to him, and goes on a cleaning-out spree and gets rid of them?!?
(Oh no! I just checked on Amazon to see how much it would be to replace one of the books I lent to C! LOOK at this!!! It starts at $120! Quick, gimme a bag to breathe into! I’ve gotta go make a phone call right now!! )
Back to the blog:
A real reader reads all the time. Nothing can stop you if you like to read. Not bathing, not eating, nothing.
Actually bathing and eating are prime reading time. Here’s the setup in my small bathroom. This is where I do most of my reading, because it’s small (and heats up easier), and the kids have been trained to leave me alone in there:
See the ceramic heater on the sink? The book is propped open with the box of tissues. The tissues are doubly useful in case you get to a sad part of the book, like in the Wesley the Owl book. Sorry, B. Maybe I shouldn’t have recommended it to you. But it’s worth the heaving sobs at the end. Really–it’s worth it! Great book!
I make a point of reading standing up in front of the sink, because I have to sit at the computer. This is my way of balancing out my daily sit and stand time. (What? Don’t you balance out your daily sit and stand time?)
With this setup I can do pretty much all of my primping and hygiene and reading at the same time. I have great dental hygiene. I floss and brush and use mouthwash every day. Sometimes multiple times in one day, if the book is especially good…
Ok—so back to real readers and the setup in my bathroom and how C isn’t a real reader.
C isn’t a real reader because he wants the spine of his books to stay smooth and uncreased.
A real reader is willing to crack open those paperbacks and let the creases fall where they may. A real reader doesn’t have time to hold open the books with her actual hands!
Here is how I have to hold C’s books.
Ridiculous! It’s barely even opened. I can’t see the words in the middle. I have to twist my wrist while I’m holding the book so I can peer into the skinny crevice to read the words closest to the binding.
If I try to prop open the book with the box of tissues, it’ll crack the spine. This means I can’t dry my hair and hold a C book at the same time! Or pull on my socks! Or put on earrings! Or eat a steak! Or an orange!
So, while I love the books I’ve borrowed from C, it takes me forever to get through them since they can be read only when sitting (or standing) around holding them gingerly in my hands and doing nothing else. Nothing else! I haven’t been able to sit (or stand) and read and do nothing else since before I had kids.
Real readers can’t go more than a few hours without reading something. Sometimes I can’t make it through a shower without reading the side of the shampoo bottle.
Having a job where you work for 8 hours straight is very difficult for real readers. At work, I would bring a book to read during lunch and a magazine to read on bathroom breaks. If you have a magazine, you can slip it under your shirt when you head to the bathroom. You have to be sneaky about it because no one wants to see their coworker heading to the bathroom with a book under their arm. Reader’s Digest is especially good for sneaking into bathrooms under your shirt.
If your shirt won’t work, and you work in an office, you could slip the magazine into a manila folder, but that’s a worse case scenario. The problem with the magazine in the folder trick is that you’re supposed to leave the manila folders on the sink and not take them into the stall. You don’t want coworkers catching you taking manila folders into the stalls or they’ll gossip about how gross your memos are because you take them into the stalls in the bathroom.
Coworkers are like that.
Lunch was a good time to read at work if you’d trained your coworkers to leave you alone. I would hunker down in my cubicle, eating my smelly left-over tuna noodle casserole in my cubicle, reading. If the tuna noodle casserole didn’t keep them away, then my doberman-like snarling would. “Whaddya want? I’m at lunch!”
A tip to non-readers: Never impose on the sacredness of a Reader At Lunch. You wouldn’t touch a dog with a bone, would you? Exactly.
Towards the end of my stint working, I didn’t eat alone in the cube anymore. I’d eat lunch with Frank, and we’d exchange tuna melt recipes. Here’s a little tip, if you can’t think of anything else to talk to men about, exchange recipes. Everybody has a recipe. It’ll get the conversation rolling. I’ve never met a man who won’t talk recipes. For some reason, the only recipe I remember discussing with Frank was for tuna melts. What with my tuna casserole and his tuna melts, no wonder no one else ever joined us for lunch in the breakroom. Stiiiiinky.
Back to creased books. Now this here is the spine of a well-loved book.
It used to be held together with duct tape, but now even the duct tape is falling off. This is the Velveteen Rabbit of books. Well-loved and worn thin.
As all books should be.