With my work and family, I don’t have much time all to myself, so I treasure it. I plan for it. I savor it. So, when thwarted in my attempt to have some time out on my own, I get a little moody.
The scene is set at the Einstein Bagel Bakery who make a fine egg and spinach on panini bread where I’m meeting a good friend. As I leave brunch on my way to a day of fun-filled bargin shopping, my purse begins to vibrate. Actually, it’s my phone that is vibrating with the intensity of the message to be conveyed my daughter is sick and I need to pick her up from school.
She is sluggish when I bring her home, so I suggest we watch TV together, and the only thing appropriate on our TiVo-Lite (i.e., not real TiVo) is American Idol. I believe I’ve mentioned that I can only watch American Idol if I’m doing something productive; otherwise I feel kind of guilty. Not that I don’t love American Idol, and if they ever make an American Idol version for 35 and up, I’ll be standing in the rain at RFK Stadium, or the FedEx Field, or Viagra Stands or whatever they are calling it then. Anyway, after three episodes, I am in an American Idol-induced stupor and not sure how I am going to shake out of it. I want to stay close to my daughter in case she... well, hurls. Reading a book nearby her would be the obvious choice. But what to read when you’re bummed and your brain has been pummeled with the ups and downs of the singing careers of total strangers? Most people would take this approach with wine and the meal, and in that analogy, what wine goes with Spaghetti-O's and strawberry taffy?
Can’t be nonfiction, or even historical fiction. Too facty. No women overcoming hardships. No men overcoming women. It needs to be humor, definitely. And then I know: It’s time for The Areas of My Expertise.
I keep trying John Hodgman’s book, because I know it is funny. But it is so clever in its humor, that it is almost nonsensical. I have only been able to digest small amounts of this book so far, but this may be the the day. I am not sure I get the 409 yes, 409 individual hobo names he lists, but I admire the author’s perseverence. Most of us would have given up at 163, but not this guy. That alone merits my consideration. Though if I need more, there are articles on “Lobster-Claw v. Pigeon-Foot Deformities” and the “Nine Presidents Who Had Hooks For Hands.” I can’t wait to find out who. Can you?