Is it a realistic expectation to be able to do what you'd like, when you’d like to do it, for as long as you'd like or even for a short period of time if that's what you want? Is it fair to expect others in your life to allow for this?
I love to read. Everyone who knows me knows this. And even if you only know me a little, you know this, too. It’s one of the basic. It’s me.
Picture Belle from “Beauty and The Beast” walking around her village with her nose in a book, bumping into things. I’m not always that absorbed but I can be and if I have a spare moment, my hands will open a book.
I always have a book with me whether it’s downloaded on my phone from my Kindle through my iPad or a “real” book stuffed on my person or thrown on the passenger seat of the car. You have the idea, right?
Obviously I can’t read when I’m driving, although I would if I could, and actually I did once in college. Returning from a visit with my college love who lived an hour away and I needed to read a marketing article in preparation for class.
Anyway…All I wanted to do Monday was read even though I was looking at a very long “to-do” list of chores. Don’t you think the word “chore” has negative connotations? I do.
I ripped off the inside portion of the list and got to it; whipping through everything in an hour. I did a slightly better than a half assed job of it, in my opinion. Things looked decent and I declared myself finished for the day.
It was sunny and breezy and perfect for reading at the end of the pier. I snuck down unbeknownst to anyone.
Peace and quiet. Sun lounger and lemonade. Book and me. Ahhhhh!
It’s was perfect for ten minutes until 75 lbs. of furry brown fun came pouncing down to water's edge, ball in mouth. If she could speak, she was saying, “Play with me. I love water. Throw the ball. Again. Again. Again…”
This wasn’t working but I played for a while tiring her completely until her tongue was almost sweeping the ground. She plopped down and left me alone. Post shake, that is.
Mood only slightly diminished, I moved to the front yard. Set myself up on two chairs, cushion under my rear, legs propped up, and book opened….again.
After a few minutes, I heard a familiar chirping, not like a bird, coming from a spot 10 feet away and 20 feet above me. I knew what it was from its very first utterance.
It was this squirrel on its perch in my tree. I don’t know if it’s the same squirrel that constantly torments and taunts the dog but I knew its game here and I was really starting to get annoyed. Every time it started yipping at me, I would look up at it and it would stop. The minute I’d look down at my book, it chirped incessantly. This went on three or four times until I laughed and said out loud, “Really? You’re kidding me, right?” Nope, not kidding. I threw a stick up at the perch.
But I began to wonder why it seemed like everything wanted my attention and/or didn’t want me to read. Could that be it?
Two attempts, two strikeouts. Third time a charm?
I readjusted myself and started again.
Not more than 15 minutes goes by and my husband, finished with his to-do's, showered, two margaritas in hand, sits down. “Wanna do something?”
I flip a few pages to see where the chapter ends and say, “Four pages. Can you wait for four pages?”
“Do you want to play cribbage or go for a boat ride?” he responds.
“I’m not doing anything until I read these four pages. Are you okay with that?”
“Sure, but what…”
“AH!” I interrupted holding my hand up.
That bought me enough silence to read ten more pages (I snuck in a few extra while he sipped his drink).
The dog, a crazy ass squirrel and my husband all made repeated attempts to disrupt me today for their own purposes. None of them are readers. Well, two can’t be. One doesn’t “get” it or consider it an immensely important part of life like I do.* The best I can relate it to is golf. For him. That's what reading means to me.
So, I tried to ignore them all. Tune them out the best I could. Engage in something I really wanted to do with my time. Told them to hold their horses! Just short of "Leave me alone."
Am I being defiant? Well, maybe. Yes.
I’m taking what I want. Everyone else does. They need to learn to entertain themselves, anyway.
I love them (well not the squirrel) but reading is my love, too. There are worse things I could be choosing to do with my time. It’s not like I’m hanging out at the bars.
*I have talked up The Hunger Games so much, “It’s right up your alley, Honey!” so just maybe…. I’ve only been able to get him to read three books, Private Parts by Howard Stern, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and only on vacations.