Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Day I Fell Off the Wagon/Bookmobile

Sometimes I get this profound urge to hit the road, Jack! To loosen the shackles of this small town and slam the door behind me on my way out!   To blow this taco stand and tear up some pavement as I skid off into the sunset!


Usually it happens around 2 am when I'm grading research papers.

But last week it happened on a Monday. It was just Monday--nothing more, nothing less. Except that Monday my husband made me sign my name in blood that I would relinquish my $1,000 prize winnings and cut back on my extraneous reading material (or, as he likes to say, books.) Plus I was missing a friend who moved to Canada to marry her internet boyfriend. (That's the 2nd friend who's moved to Canada to marry her internet boyfriend. Do you think they're lying to me?)

So I jumped in the car, cracked the sun roof and blasted The Fray. I drove and drove and drove until I came to Abargios, the little Italian dive my now married, now Canadian friend and I frequented back in the day.

I love Abargios. I love their chicken parmesian. I love the little Filipino cashier . . . how she always touches me sympathetically on the shoulder when she caps off my Mountain Dew, like she completely understands what it's like to eat alone.

So I sat down and waited for my chicken parmesian. I had the whole joint to myself. Before long I was wishing I'd grabbed some extraneous reading material before hitting the road and blowing the shackles off my small town. Then I remembered I had picked up the mail just before slamming the door behind me and skidding off into the sunset. I had two catalogs to choose from: Emergency Essentials or the Quality Paper Back Book Club extended edition catalog.

Do you have to ask?

So I glanced through the catalog to figure out which books to order for the low club price of $3.99. There was much to choose from:

Bonk. The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. I marked is as a maybe because the cover photo of two lady bugs getting their groove on was strangely compelling and because I'm a sucker for anything with the word science in the title.

The Third Jesus by Depak Chopra. (Did I miss the 2nd Jesus?)

The Starbuck Experience. (I don't want to read this, but I want to have this. Mark my words, one day I will write a post on my new white Macbook while sitting in Starbuck's sipping a Hot Apple Cider with whip cream.)

This Saint's for You! (How to find myself a Patron Saint? Maybe.)

Chronic Pain for Dummies (That's just rude.)

I Hope they Serve Beer in Hell by Tuck Max. (I hope so too Tuck. Rachel Ray says it adds a yum-o flavor to beef stew.)

Elephants on Acid (That's just dangerous.)

Painless Algebra (If I were an elephant on acid algebra might not be painful, but elsewise that's just (oxy)moronic.)

Who the Hell is Pansy O' Hara (I've been asking myself that for years!)

Canning and Preserving for Dummies (This book had to be written by one of us, don't you think? Tempting, just to be supportive, but NOPE!)

The Thing About Life is that One Day You'll Be Dead (Too predictable.)

The Logic of Life (Can't stand spoilers.)

Your Inner Fish. (Not quite ready to go there.)

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. (Too concise for me. I think I'll wait for An Abstract Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers to hit the shelves).

I narrowed it down to The Geography of Bliss, because it's about finding the happiest countries on earth, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, because it promises to be "brain food of the most delicious sort." And The Time Traveler's Wife, because who wouldn't want to be a time traveler's wife?

And for my final choice I added The 19th Wife (I would have picked it sooner had it been titled The Time Traveler's 19th Wife) by David Ebershoff because it's about one of Brigham Young's wives, (probably his 19th) Ana Eliza Young. (Any one read this? Do tell!) Is this guy an insider? (Just curious because my creative writing teacher said an insider will never be able to write honestly about an insider. Or something like that. But I'll save that post for tomorrow.)

Before I returned to my small town shackles I took a stroll through Safeway. Mostly because Safeway is the only place on earth that sells delicious drinkable yogurt, but also because wandering the aisles of Safeway is part of my get-all-tingly-about-the-holidays ritual. It sets in motion the anticipation of filling my cart with cans of pumpkin and yams and cranberries and bags of mini-marshmallows and chocolate and apples and tins of nutmeg and cinnamon.

But did you know Safeway sells books now? Me neither! I couldn't resist a browse. They were all New York Times Best Sellers--Debbie McComber, Mary Higgins Clark, Danielle Steel, Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts--but up on the top shelf tucked behind Twilight was a little red book called The Jane Austen Book Club. I picked it up and read the first page.

" . . . her dialogue remained genuinely funny, not like Shakespeare's jokes, which amused you only because they were Shakespeare's and you owed him that."


Shakespeare needs no obligatory laughs! He's a comic genius! He's a satirical rogue! We don't OWE him a laugh because he's Shakespeare. We laugh because he's hilarious . . . AND because he's SHAKESPEARE!

That kinda ruffled my feathers.

So I bought the book.

And that's the day I fell off the wagon/bookmobile.

(And psssst . . . . Safeway is a great place to go if you're trying to hide a book addiction. You might pay a bit more, but my husband totally thought I was buying food to sustain our family.)


Debbie said...

Book titles are just as great as band names. Now I think I will have to find out who Pansy O'Hara is. And I have heard grea things about the 19th Wife book but haven't read it yet. I've bought books in lots of strange places though - even Kroger.

Kristina P. said...

I would buy pretty much anything that had the words "hell", "beer", or "Dummies" in the title. Hence the reason for me reading you fabulous blog.

*MARY* said...

You have a lot of secrets you keep from your husband don't you.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Some people are afraid of 6'4" snails, others are afraid of 6'4" husbands.

But seriously, I'm testing him to see if he really is reading my blog.

So far, I think it's a NO because he hasn't scolded me.

Wendyburd1 said...

Have you seen the MOVIE The Jane Austen Book Club- SO good!! It's good to know I'll die someday...I've been waiting, feeling like spoiled milk!! And I have that algebra sickness...I LOVE it!! Anyone need any help? I am SO there for you...well I can help on IM or something

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Debbie, That is so true! I would totally listen to a band named Elephants on Acid or Chronic Pain for Dummies

Kristina, what about science? Would you buy anything with the words science in the title? ;)

Wendy I haven't seen it, but it's on my Netflix list. And CAN YOU HELP MY DAUGHTER WITH ALGEBRA? Cause I barely passed pre-algebra and that's cause I was sleeping with the teacher.

(KIDDING!! sheesh! Don't get all high and mighty on me.)

wesley's mom said...

I don't think I could promise to not buy books. They (and groceries, I guess) are the one(or is it 2 now?) thing I never feel guilty about buying.

Sorry your friends keep moving to Canada, though I have to say, I've considered it myself a few times lately.