Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hey! Put Down That Fork!

This is the time of year we are all expected to think about what makes us thankful.   Not that we shouldn’t be thankful every day of our lives, but this week, because of THANKSgiving, the Hallmark Channel is being very insistent that we spend more time consciously coming up with heart-warming reasons why we are even more thankful this week than we were last week or will be next week.  

In some families it’s a tradition that as everyone is seated at the table, before anybody picks up a fork, they must state at least one thing they are thankful for.  Things like, “I’m thankful I wore my fat pants today”, or “I’m thankful Mom doesn’t make the gravy anymore”, or “I’m really thankful I’m not a turkey.”  This year Dean and I are spending Thanksgiving with Ryan, Leslie and the kids at Ryan’s parents’ house.  I don’t know if they follow that tradition, but if they do, I will be ready.

I am thankful that I can provide so much fun for Dean.  I’m happy my genetic defects can bring a smile to his face.  Next to watching my reaction when he shows me his latest garage sale purchase, I think his favorite form of entertainment is hanging back and watching as I turn left, or turn right, or go straight, after I’ve walked through a doorway.  Well, that’s not exactly what he likes.  What he really enjoys, the part that brightens his day, is when I turn back to look for him.  Because at that moment, with a big smile on his face, he says, “are you sure you want to go that way?  Because the office, store, car, elevator, bathroom, restaurant, water fountain, theatre (get the drift?) … is that way.”  And then he gets an even bigger smile on his face.  And sometimes … he almost laughs!

I get lost a lot.  Not all of the time, and not everywhere, but some of the time and in unfamiliar places.  Okay, I get lost most of the time, pretty much everywhere.   And Dean knows that.  Except he forgot about my propensity to get lost the time we were leaving a pub in Edinburgh.   While we were having lunch in that quaint local pub he knocked over my filled-to-the-brim pint of cider.  It ran across the table, onto my lap, and down to the floor where it puddled in my purse and around my feet just as my first forkful of haggis, neeps and mash had almost reached my lips.  It was an accident, of course.  He couldn’t get the little plastic packet of ketchup to open and my glass of cider got in the way as he was tearing at it.  The liquid missed my lunch, mostly, so I was still able to eat, but I ate with a soaking wet right leg, while sitting in a small lake of cider.  It was a very quiet lunch.  

When we left the pub and I walked out the door and turned left, Dean didn’t wait, watch and grin, but immediately turned me to the right and toward our “home-away-from-home” so I could change clothes.   Except for the squishing sound of my wet boot and the grinding of my teeth it was a very quiet walk.   It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that he told me he’d made me turn the other way and go back and change clothes because he thought I was “doing that martyr thing you do” and I was going to continue sightseeing soaking wet.  “Are you kidding?!  I thought I WAS heading toward the house to change clothes.  Do you think I WANTED to go sightseeing smelling like a barrel of fermented apples?”   I’m thankful he didn’t let me wander off in the wrong direction that afternoon, but probably not as thankful as he should be.

I’m thankful for my Kindle too.  A couple of weeks ago I “checked out” my first library book to my Kindle.  It was quick and easy.  The hardest part was remembering where I had put my library card because I had to use my actual library card number as my login.  I thought it was silly I couldn’t create a login/password so I wouldn’t always have to be digging for my card, but I suppose using the card number is better than trying to remember what special login/password combination I’d made up but then couldn’t remember and couldn’t get e-mailed to me because I’d changed my Internet Service Provider since then so I couldn’t open my old e-mail to get the login/password I’d made up ...  oh, wait ... that was my Skype account.

The next hardest part was calling the library to renew my library card because it had expired since I hadn’t used it for two years because I have a Kindle and 52 as-yet-unread free library-book-sale-books and I don’t go to the library anymore because I don’t need to and because, well, you know, I might get lost.  

Otherwise, it was just a matter of browsing through the available titles, picking the one I wanted to read, clicking a couple of buttons and watching a book magically appear on my Kindle fast and painless.  The only bad thing is I can only “check out” a library book for seven days.  So I’ve been trying to read really fast.  And I’ve been trying to lengthen my bedtime reading which is a bit risky because I’m not sure what will happen if I fall asleep and slobber drips down into the keyboard on a Kindle.   It is an electronic devise after all.  I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be quite as deadly as a blow dryer falling into a bathtub, but I don’t think trying to explain why I have a tiny keyboard burned into my cheek would be a whole lot of fun either. 

The bad thing is I can’t read a book in seven days.  I don’t think I’ve ever been able to read a book in seven days; probably because I like to read big, fat books.   When I was in high school I didn’t have a lot of money.  So when I bought a book, I wanted as many words as I could get for the little bit of money I had.  I chose my books by thickness and weight.  The books I read were so big that there should have been a disclaimer printed that said “publisher does not accept responsibility for pulled muscles.  Prior consultation with a personal trainer recommended before lifting.”   Or … maybe I was just a scrawny girl who needed to put her book down, get off the couch, go outside get some exercise and sun.

Even though my Kindle books aren’t big and heavy, I still like books with a lot of words.  And there is still a risk when reading them.  I think I should suggest to Amazon that the Kindle books they sell to libraries come with a disclaimer stating “publisher does not accept responsibility for suffocation resulting from falling piles of neglected laundry due to excessive amounts of reading over a seven day period.” Then they can be thankful to ME for precluding any lawsuits all those other library check-out Kindle readers may be contemplating.

I don’t think they’re worried about lawsuits though.  What I think is really happening is this.  I think it’s a cunning trick by Amazon to get Kindle readers to purchase more books.   I have come to this conclusion because seven days after I checked out the book, I received an e-mail saying my checkout period had expired.   The e-mail told me I could try to check it out again (providing that single digital copy had not already been checked out by somebody else) or I could click the blue link which conveniently took me straight to that very same book in Amazon available for purchase.

That’s pretty cunning.  Tempt people with a free Kindle book check-out, give them seven days to get engrossed, and then poof!  take the book away and send them to the Amazon storefront.  I, however, am even more cunning.  I have figured out that as long as I do not turn on the Kindle wireless option the book does not disappear.  So there, Amazon!  I not only beat you at your own game but I have discovered one more thing to be thankful for sneaky genes.  Dean’s not the only one grinning now.



Deano said...

Just read those nice real paper books that are sooooo cheap at the library book sale and you wont have to be tied to the electronic man!

Art Elser said...

I think I have a solution for you propensity to get lost, Cathy. My son Al sits next to a woman who is a GIS specialist. I'll bet if you told him where you wanted to go, he could get her to make a map for you. Probably could even put little "left" and "right" arrows to help you know which direction to turn.

I wonder how you get the keyboard burns out of your cheek?