Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Reading Between The Scans

It was sometime after noon, but I didn’t pay much attention. The weather was playing games with the sun so that there was no guessing the actual hour by the intensity of the light. The lamp was on of necessity, the necessity of comfort or vision, I’m not sure which, maybe both, and it felt brighter inside than out so it could have easily been dusk outside, except for the fact that I knew better.

I was alone for the day, unbound by my usual drop off/pick up routine as it’s spring break and everyone was gone for the day. I was working, yet it was the mindless and repetitious sort that causes no stress, but which has been known to numb the senses. The work, the dark cozy weather and my situation transported me to an “otherworld” where the usual obligations that delineate space and time didn’t seem to apply. The occasional pattering of raindrops on rooftops added to the unconventional air the day had taken upon itself.

The new office chair’s excellent twirling capabilities helped pass the time while I waited for my work to process, over and again, but after an hour or more with hours yet to go, I got the hint that if this pattern was to be repeated nearly a hundred times, that would mean a very long day of endless twirling and/or trips to the kitchen. Never enough time to do anything more than grab some chips, and just enough to watch dust collect and find my mind dazed by the consistent sameness of my surroundings, same thoughts, eyes affixed to common objects hour after twirly hour, the hypnotizing hum of the scanner lulling me into something just outside of slumber.

The chair stopped spinning for a moment, and my eyes rolled around and landed like a roulette ball on the stack of books nearby. My eye caught “Stephen King on Writing”. The cover had always drawn me since the first time I picked it up and found it full of sweet & sour, colorful words inside. Even the spine of it, the little bit that was showing, was like spying a candy wrapper of the sort I fall victim to. It drew me in. I was reminded that there was something inside I hadn’t yet consumed, like the little lilt in my heart when I discover there is half a bag of sour skittles left that I’ve forgotten. It’s a book that sidles up and whispers of myself in some ways when I read it. I find that to my liking.

The scanning process was taking about 3 to 4 minutes each time, an abnormally long time to stare and wait usually. But that was of no consequence now; something was being poured out in snatches a page or two at a time, lighting up my thoughts and putting an end to my numbed consciousness. The longer the scan, I was finding, the more I could read.

So for the next 5 hours, I kicked my feet up and read between scans, twirling effortlessly back and forth to push buttons and change settings as needed and then twirling myself back to my reading glasses and my book full of “candy”, a sip of Coke now and then to accent the pleasure. Later I could be found leaning forward reading with face in hands, like a kid in a fort, living a make believe adventure while on holiday from life, as the rest of the world was off doing their chores. I had discovered how to do both at once and I liked the combination. I think it was as work should be. I didn’t begrudge myself the snatches of reading. It seemed prudent to fill the emptiness with something productive, and I felt rich with life at the same time. So I finally got the chance to do what I never seem to be able to find time for after my work is through.

This day would have been a keeper, except that you can’t keep a day. Too bad. I favor holding the good stuff close. But I can reuse my newfound time passage tool and pick up where I’ve left off. It’s like having a whole new world at my fingertips. All those books I’ve enjoyed but which I’ve never actually finished will be soon be consumed a page at a time. Soon they will be tucked neatly into the corners of my mind, decorating my thoughts and my outlook. How exciting. I so hope scans galore await my future.

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