Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sucked in

Books are dangerous for me.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading books. When I was a child, the punishment my parents used to threaten me with wasn't losing sweets or television, but my books. I would spend hours and hours and hours reading.

The problem, however, is that it's very difficult for me to focus on getting anything else done when I have a book. School work, housework, jobs, friends, family--it all has a tendency to fall by the wayside. If for some reason I can't read right then--like when I was having to take customers' calls, for example--I was still focused on the book. Why had the characters done that? How was the author going to tie these disparate plots together? When will they catch the bad guy?  

This can be a very bad thing.

The very first test I failed was in first grade. Being a rather bright child, I typically completed my classwork ahead of my classmates and was frequently bored in class. This resulted in my constantly talking to the other students and disrupting class, so my teacher moved my desk to the side of the room and made me sit by myself.

On one such occasion where I'd finish my classwork well ahead of the others in the class, I pulled out a book and started reading, since there was no one nearby to talk to. Next thing I knew, the teacher was going around the classroom asking for everybody's spelling tests. When she asked me for mine, I looked at her blankly and wanted to know what spelling test. Apparently, the class had finished working on whatever project I'd completed, and so the teacher moved on to the next thing, the spelling test. I, however, did not do this, because I was busy reading a choose-your-own-adventure book. Since I wasn't paying attention, she just failed me on my test.

Twenty years later it still pisses me off to think about it, to be honest. I've always privately suspected she forgot I was over in my corner, and then blamed me for occupying myself.

But I digress.

Thankfully, as I grew older, I developed a knack for being able to hear my name and pull myself out of the book I was reading and participate in classes. But that all-encompassing hold that books have over me never truly diminished. After I graduated college and had to start working for a living, my consumption of books drastically decreased. I simply couldn't afford to split my attention off from my work, especially since it had a tendency to be rather dangerous for me.

Now-a-days, I rarely pick up books and read them any more. Not because I dislike reading--far from it. But when I pick up a book, that pretty much means that the next 4 to 24 hours are shot, because I'll keep reading until the book is finished, and I rather enjoy being productive around my home and taking pictures and blogging and gardening and spending time with my friends and... well, you get the picture.

Every now and again, however, I allow myself to go off on a binge. Which is why I disappeared last week.

Sooner or later I've got to learn moderation.

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