Tag Archives: reading

To read or not to read … that is the question

Clayton and I (mostly Clayton) recently came to the realization we watch a lot of TV. Granted, it’s winter in Nebraska, which means we’re stuck indoors for the better part of the year, but I’m fairly certain some days the heat radiating from our perpetually turned on TV(s) was keeping the house warm instead of our HVAC system. Not good. And while I’m not keen on admitting it, for two weeks straight, my heroine was Karen from Will and Grace. Looking back, I see now where he may have thought we (mostly me) were on a downward spiral.

So, we sat down a few nights ago with a bit of ole-fashioned resolve to have a good read. Clayton already had his book picked out. He had chosen Rome Sweet Home, a stimulating, non-fiction piece about a former Protestant couple turned Catholic. Powerful stuff. It was a paperback, too, as if he wasn’t already one-upping me with his life-transforming content. My mind instantly went to people who still read newspapers, ink permeating their fingertips, instead of searching for news online, only a few years away from disabling carpal tunnel like the rest of us. If a study was done, I bet we’d find those reading tangible publications would be categorized as more respected, learned or sophisticated. Likewise, I think there’s deeper appreciation for the history of and life led by paperback books – unless I’m the only one who loves the musty smell of old library books and that makes me a huge weirdo. Because I’m totally not.

Of course, this was a brand new book, so I was still able to glance at him sideways in a slightly smug manner.  

For about two minutes, I stared pitifully at my dead Kindle, a slave to technology, between trading inquisitive, hopeful looks with the darkened TV (which just consisted of me making faces at myself in the TV’s reflection.) Presumably, because the massive appliance was off, it was ice cold in the room, and I couldn’t bear the thought of getting out of the protective bed covers to plug in the device.

With what I imagine was a barely audible sigh, Clayton read my mind and grabbed my charger, handing it to me before settling back in. My body half out of bed as I stubbornly pulled the covers with me, I stretched toward the outlet about three feet away from the bed, my dignity diminishing as blatantly as the comforter covering Clayton. Out of breath from the catastrophic act of laziness, I uprighted myself, avoiding eye contact by pretending to be overly indignant the Kindle still displayed the lightning bolt/plug icon and nothing else after a solid minute of charging.

Having already improved his quality of life through 10 minutes of almost undistracted mental exercise, Clayton quietly read on. Meanwhile, I stared at my phone’s Kindle app, feeling bored with content already in its library, wondering what book I would even buy, and vehemently hoping Clayton was too absorbed in his own reading to realize I was, indeed, even thinking of purchasing a book.

That I had somehow found a way to shop online instead of read at this point in our venture was an accomplishment of its own to me, proving just how tenacious my skill (problem?) for shopping is. Because of the Antarctic conditions of the house, however, I justified buying a novel was a safer route than risking my life by journeying downstairs to pick one from the bookcase, of which I would have had to climb shelves to even reach reading material based on my short stature. In slippers half a size too big for my clumsy self. Without contacts. Because it seems natural selection missed the boat with me.

Ongoing bullet points are usually how I make my case for shopping. Is it working yet?

I stealthily googled away.

Now, throughout the last couple months, I had read my fair share of humoristic literature. Jim Gaffigan’s book, Dad is Fat. Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Deciding to continue my education in hilarity, I purchased Allie Brosh’s new book, Hyperbole and a Half.

So, here we are. Clayton’s enlightening himself, well on his way with a faith-filled couple on a religious journey, and I have chosen a book that, quite honestly, has way too many pictures for my age. A book with stories based largely on running around naked, finding loopholes to becoming a better person and neuroticism. Stories that frequently star the f word. To be fair, the pictures are truly charming.

We’re epic proof opposites attract.

I read the entire thing in less than a day, and I was not shortchanged by the amount of guffaws radiating from deep within my diaphragm. My abs were making a solid case for themselves (pun intended), and I was delighted to find reading could actually double as a secondary workout plan. Everything was coming up Milhouse!

However, reading about someone else’s hilarious take on life is nowhere as satisfying as writing stories about my own experiences. That’s when I realized exactly how lazy I was being by taking the easy way out.

To read or not to read? That’s my yin and yang – I can’t be a writer and avid book lover and have one without the other. Balance is a struggle for me. I’m very clumsy, like I said. But also when it comes to everything in my life. One day I must clean the entire house, giving myself an hour to do so. The next moment, I realize how impossible that is and go on one of my Will and Grace binges. Still seconds later, I’m falling apart in guilt, sobs wracking my body when I could have just done the damn dishes, watched one episode of Will and Grace and been well on my way to not being a crazy person.

The conclusion is this: I will continue to read about the fascinating endeavors of my peers, while spending quality time writing instead of raging with misplaced jealousy that they are writing and I am not. All with the balance of the tumbler I used to be when I was five.

I missed you guys. I’m glad to be back.

Ass-out cyber hugs (let’s keep it professional),

The newly Mrs. Rief

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