I don't know what you like to do when the weather turns to absolute kack, but me? I like to get soaking wet while running the short distance from my house to the truck, then spend the next half hour steaming up the interior during some exciting (read: scary) highway driving, and finally end up at IKEA, where I proceed to drop a couple hundred bucks on home organization thingummies that promptly disappear into the general clutter as soon as I return home.
Am I the only one this happens to? I picked up all these cool boxes and magazine containers and various bins and tubs, and I was sure that THIS TIME all the loose bits and pieces around the house would finally have a permanent home. I spent today dismantling and sorting and inhaling Hanta-infested dust kitties and wielding an Allen key like no mortal has ever wielded an Allen key.
And now? Well, I guess you can kind of see where the walls touch the floors in some places. And trust me: that is a huge improvement.
Pretty much the only thing I'm fit for right now is making a list, and it seems fitting that, given what a non-starter this weekend has been, I list all the books I've ever lied about reading. In no apparent order, and without any further ado (unless you want more ado, in which case email me and I'll put you on my newsletter list), here they are:
The Grapes of Wrath
The first Steinbeck novel I ever read was The Pearl, in grade nine. I absolutely hated it, and so, not knowing that I'd some day become a huge Steinbeck devotee, when The Grapes of Wrath crossed my path three years later, I wasn't going to be taken in again. But still I had to fake my way through the book, which meant grilling my friends and, of course, reading the ending. And this is what has done me in. I've tried to read it a few times, but I feel this black cloud descend on me every time, and I never get past the first seventy or so pages. All you Wrath finishers, tell me this: if you had known the ending before starting the book, would you still have picked it up?
In my last year as an undergrad, I took a history of the English novel course, along with Tara, the Artist Formerly Known as Wing Chun. And man, some of those books were friggin' huge. I chugged through Robinson Crusoe and even Clarissa (the unabridged edition, no less), but I just couldn't stick with Tom Jones. Perhaps Tara did: I can't remember. She's a lot tougher than I am, and much better equipped to deal with Fielding's crap. I GET that it was supposed to be some sort of satirical take on the pastoral novel or somesuch, but I JUST DON'T CARE. And after a thousand-plus pages, I care even less. I have no idea how I managed to bluff my way through this one. I have a feeling that my professor wasn't taken in at all, but was too beaten down by all of us dumdums to put up a fight.
Oh my god. See above.
Many of the works of William Shakespeare
I once heard that you can't consider yourself a real student of English literature until you've read pretty much everything Shakespeare ever wrote. I guess that officially makes me a poseur. I like bits of Shakespeare. I really like certain plays, such as Macbeth and Richard III and The Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice. And I named my cat Puck, which is possibly (though not definitely) the most pretentious thing I've ever done. But Hamlet? Romeo and Juliet? Come on. They remind me of bad teen angst movies, possibly starring Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson. And at the time I took my token Shakespeare survey course in university, my own annoying teen years -- where I was as sick of myself as I was of other teenagers -- were too close for comfort.
I'm dredging my memory for examples of showier lies, but I think most of my literary fibbing has tended to take place in academic environments, for boring, self-serving reasons. I may have lied outside a university setting, years ago, about finishing Foucault's Pendulum. I can't for the life of me remember the exact occasion, but I think it was to someone who claimed to have read everything Umberto Eco has ever written, and I was still young enough to have felt shame that I'd battered my head against Pendulum several times, but Eco's dizzily learned ("That's learned, Pepe, learned.") vocabulary was too much for me. I think it was the second appearance of the word "chthonic" that did me in.
Your turn. Come. Wallow in the shame bath with me. The water's warm. Shamefully warm.