Do you know how long it’s been where I’ve taken a night to
just curl up in bed and read? It’s been too long. It’s been entirely and
ridiculously too long. I have not had
the attention span or the patience or the mental fortitude to do anything more
than lie under my duvet and enjoy watching Gossip
more than anyone really should really be enjoying watching Gossip Girl. Also, Iron Chef has also become my one true
love, and Alton Brown my boyfriend on the side.

The point is, I’ve been watching way too much television. I
never watch television. It is very irritating to realize that all I want to do
is watch television like some kind of crazy television watching person who
watches a lot of television.

I’ve also become some kind of crazy bus-riding person who
stares into space rather than pulling the book I carry everywhere—to no avail, fucking Middlemarch—out of my
bag. And at lunch, I’ve been going to
the gym like a crazy gym-going person, rather than curling up on the couch in
the break room and reading and eating Cheez Whiz right out of the aerosol can
like any normal person.

But Friday night, I canceled all of my plans to go out and be social, and I poured myself a glass of wine and I
pulled the duvet up to my chin and read The
until 2:00 in the morning and my eyes were rolling back in my
head, and it was the best night I’ve had in a long goddamn time. I missed
reading. I have to remember how I missed it, before I start missing it again
like a big dope.

And now, do you know how close I am to being done with Middlemarch? I am so close. I am thisclose. That’s really close. It’s
thrillingly close.

Do you know how little I want this book to end? So very
little. I am loving it. One of the most frustrating things about reading this
book is how much I love it, but how easy it was to avoid going back to it. I would pick it up, and get immediately
absorbed, have to put it away, and then it would take actual effort to force
myself to pick it back up.

There is no explanation for this. I knew it was a great
book, and I knew that I was enjoying it (it is hard to not be aware that you
are enjoying something, I imagine, unless your lack of self-awareness borders
on legal blindness) but there was
something formidably off-putting about it when the cover was closed.

The first time I ever started reading it was for a class,
and for that class—a graduate school course—I think I decided I wanted the
important, hefty, weighty edition that would make me look very intellectual.

Fucker was the size of a brick. A really fat brick. An
oversized brick with a weightlifting habit. It was a big goddamn book, and man
did I hate lugging that thing around.

In class, the instructor only had us read halfway. I’m still not sure why. But as soon as I got up to the halfway mark,
the book went bam! on the floor, and even though I wanted very muchly to pick
the thing back up, to finish the book that I had kind of been loving, I
couldn’t do it. It was too big, I said.
"Get a smaller copy!" people said. And eventually, I did. And
I had no excuse to not pick it up anymore, to not carry it with me and read it
on the bus and finish the stupid thing and I still didn’t because I am weird
and dumb.

However, despite my astonishing levels of weird dumbness, I
am almost finished! I am going to get into the bathtub tonight, and I am going
to add bubbles that smell like coriander and lemon, and I am going to stay in
that tub while the water turns cold and terrible, terrible things happen to
good people because that is the way life is and that is what George Eliot
writes about.

Oh, I hope it has a happy ending. Don’t tell me.

5 Replies to “fundamental”

  1. Did you ever see that old Twilight Zone episode in which Burgess Meredith loves to read but reading is frowned upon and his shrewish wife blacks out all the lines of text in his books and then, mercifully, there is a nuclear war (ok, but go with me here) and finally, finally, finally he will be able to do nothing but sit and read and read and read and he is so happy and then, oops, he breaks his glasses and that’s how it ends.

    That makes me weep, man (and not just because I just typed the world’s longest run-on sentence).

    Not being able to read would be like not….breathing. I think when you were sick you probably fell into the tv habit because when you’re sick you just want to lie in a zombie-like state and whimper, and what better way to hasten that than with endless hours of tv?

    But now it’s time and I’m so glad to hear you’re cracking spines again (ooh, that sounds….not like what I meant) because there is nothing better.

    George Eliot rocks.

  2. You are not weird and dumb at all! Most of us have things we learned to hate just because they were required even when the books themselves are wonderful.

    Taking the time for yourself to live in a book that you adore, with characters that interest and move you, with a story that takes you to another place and time – that’s real self-care.

    I won’t give away the ending ;)

  3. You’ll have to tell me how it ends.
    I read it twice, but I can never remember anything anymore, only bits and pieces of things, like Anna’s red purse when she fell on the train tracks, stuff like that.

  4. Maybe you just don’t want it to end. There are so many books that I enjoy so much there is this sadness when it is over. Maybe to avoid this sadness you are avoiding the end.

  5. I tend to go through phases with extra-curricular activites. I’m currently in a TV-watching phase right now. Later I’ll be into watching movies on DVD, or reading, or making soup (don’t ask), or painting, or writing. I know I should be doing something more constructive with my time than sitting and watching Cartoon Network, but if I force myself to do something I’ll do it half-assed and I’ll hate it anyway.

    This one time I met Alton Brown and he was really nice and I acted like a total fan girl. It was awesome.

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