Why I Don’t Read
I don’t read to learn new words; that is just a very serendipitous corollary.
I don’t read because I have free time— quite the opposite, actually.
I don’t read to “get some reading done” because that sounds like a perfunctory chore that just needs to be finished and forgotten.
I don’t read to escape my reality; printed words are just as real as anything else.
I don’t read thinking that the book will never end; every time I pick up a book I can feel that hard-bound back cover in my hand, the physical deadline between the last words and the rest of the world.
I don’t read because books take me away to new and far-off places and thoughts;
I read because— no matter how far away they take me— they always promise to bring me back.
M = r × F
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe
that I do not want it. Now I understand
why the old poets of China went so far and high
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist. The Old Poets of China -Mary Oliver
maybe, just maybe, if I stopped constantly talking and thinking about how busy I am, my life wouldn’t seem so busy….
In which my lungs have one job.
lungs are supposed to hold air so oxygen can be absorbed. that is their one job. For some reason, my lungs have decided that that is too much responsibility, so they spontaneously collapse every once in a while. This past july I had to have a tube put in my chest to drain the air in my chest cavity so that my lung could reinflate. This past weekend I had to go the hospital because it happened again. But I suppose it’s not all bad; it’s an experience that very few people have. I can truthfully say that I know exactly how it feels to have air percolating out of my lung into my chest, so that’s pretty cool. New experiences are always good, right?
la ultima vez
When I was little, We didn’t have a pool so my brother and I used to have our parents turn on the lawn sprinklers and we would just run through them and splash each other. There were the radial sprinklers, the sprinklers that slowly rotated, the ones that stood still. And all of them seemed like the greatest thing on the whole entire planet for those hot canicular days.
However, my brother and I no longer strip off most of our clothes to jump through an irrigation system, and we haven’t done so for many years. I’m not upset that we don’t do this anymore, but what bothers me is that I don’t remember the last time we did it.
In calculus there is a theorem called the Intermediate Value Theorem. It basically states that if f(a) = 5 and f(b) = 10, there must be some f(c) for every point between them. It’s a really dumb theorem; I know.
If i used to run joyously through the sprinklers, and now i don’t run joyously through the sprinklers, there must exist some point in time where the sprinklers turned off for the last time. Neither me nor my brother nor anyone else planned this moment; none of us knew when the last time was going to be. There was no fanfare; no commemorative picture. The sprinklers turned off and I wrapped myself in a towel, just like every other time before that. But that time was different; that time they would never come on again. Well, they would, but just to water the grass.
For everything that I ever start, one time I will do it for the last time. I don’t like this. I want a commemorative, nostalgia-steeped photograph for everything that I ever stop doing. I want them all bound in a book that I can look at and never forget. Look, there’s the picture of me the last time I went on the monkey bars, and here’s me riding in-line skates for the last time. I don’t want the activities that I used to love to go out without so much as a whisper. It’s like my passion for running through sprinklers was was silently, unknowingly quenched by some errant water droplet on the day (that I can’t point to on a calendar) that I apparently decided to never ever run through sprinklers ever again for the rest of my life always.
I made a poster for an elementary school (read: overlaid text on a picture of Mt. Rainier) and the principal liked it except that there were too many commas. Notably, there was an extra comma before the ‘and’ at the end of a list. She wanted it gone.
She wanted me to delete an oxford comma.
I had to do it.
She’s the principal.
I’m so sorry.