Craig

I am an avid reader. I finish at least four books each month and still get anxiety about all the books I will inevitably leave unread. I am (and always have been) just completely obsessed with reading.

Boz absolutely never reads anything offline so this is a hobby I generally pursue when he isn't home (aside from the few pages I read every night right before bed). Fortunately (I suppose? In a way?) Boz isn't home all that often so marriage hasn't negatively impacted my reading time. One of my very favorite times to read is during my daily 3-mile walk with Pancho. We head out just as (or slightly before) the sun comes up and head through the neighborhood for about ten minutes before popping out at one end of our local park, Pease Park. Our path through Pease is about a mile long and Pancho is able to run off-leash as I walk. We've been on this routine since I returned from Japan and I have been stopped by other park-goers a good dozen times already. They are curious about my books. They want to know what I'm reading, why I'm reading, how I manage to walk and read at the same time...they are just super perplexed by this little morning activity. I was really surprised and delighted the first time I was stopped. I couldn't wait to tell Boz about the unexpected interaction and was just so enchanted by the curiosity of a stranger. Now I practically expect to engage with someone every morning. I find this really odd simply because I would never interrupt someone to ask about his/her reading selection. It seems like such a personal question! Who does that!? (<everyone, apparently. Straight up everyone.)

Austin's homeless population is out of control and our park is the preferred stomping ground of a few elderly homeless men. Boz has lived in his (our!) condo since 2005 so I have spent innumerable hours in Pease and am very familiar with its homeless residents. And yes, this worries Boz to no end...but I have a huge soft spot for homeless people which he has slowly come to accept. He's buoyed by the fact I'm still alive after a decade of bringing them snacks and lunch money (<which Boz claims is really beer money. However, if I am ever homeless, I will definitely choose wine over gas station sandwiches so I'm totally cool with this. Lets be real.)

Pig and I passed one of the regulars, Craig, this morning. We've chatted with Craig many times and on any given day, it may be completely incoherent.  There have been many a morning when I am simply providing a comforting human presence rather than actually engaging in real conversation...but then there are mornings when he says "You have such a good dog" and I tear up because it's so sweet (and true) and curiously touching. On this particular morning, Craig tipped his ball cap and said "Whatcha readin', girl?" I held up my book and answered, "It's called Middlesex. It's about a Greek hermaphrodite who settles in Detroit." I'm 90% sure I would have been slightly uncomfortable discussing Middlesex with any non-homeless (homefull?) park-goer, but I don't see the point in bs'ing a homeless person. I'm pretty sure they've all seen enough to handle an unexpected conversation about a fictional gender-identity crisis. Craig responded, "Wonderful. Beautiful. Thank you."

Thank you? Thank you for...reading? reading Middlesex? Talking to you about my book? I can't handle being unduly thanked!

So I gave him Middlesex. He thanked me again. At least then the reason was clear.

Boz is in Houston right now and will read this story in disbelief. I NEVER give my books away. I love them all so much and aspire to own a bursting-at-the-seams home library someday. He'll probably be pleased with my generosity, but it will be undeserved as, truth-be-told, I hated Middlesex. I read The Marriage Plot and absolutely loved it, so I assumed I would enjoy Middlesex. However, I have been struggling with the book ever since I bought it in 2010. Middlesex is Pulitzer Prize-winning torture.

This book-gifting encounter all went down at 7am this morning and I'm still bothered by it. Craig probably doesn't have many (any?) books. His one piece of entertainment should not be Middlesex. So I have a plan: I'm going to set it all right tomorrow and take Craig Alice In Wonderland.

Because:

The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad?"
Alice: "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All of the best people are."

Lets all pray for Craig tonight, friends.

xoxo,

Ab








On an unrelated note: the Austin Rodeo went down last month. I held a baby piggy.
Best evening ever.