Sunday, July 22, 2007

The day after

I would have to say that yesterday was a strange day.

Hmmm.... Let's rephrase that slightly, shall we? Imagine Dennis Hopper's voice saying, "Yesterday was s-t-r-a-n-g-e man."

Okay, that's better. Conveys what I'm trying to explain.

Like so many millions of other people, I woke up with great anticipation. It was the Day of Harry Potter #7! Practically a global holiday.

As with Book #6, I had ordered the new one from amazon.com, which meant that the book would be delivered with the mail at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon. Therefore, I had half a day to fill.

(Yes, I know I could have gone to Barnes & Noble at any time, however, I was trying to avoid the crowds and an accidental spoiler. Later in the morning, Pete and Graceful had brunch after her riding lesson and ran into a local family we know. The family's teenagers told them it's all the rage among that generation to read the last chapter and yell spoilers. Not these kids though, so no spoilers were yelled.)

Since I had so many hours to fill and since I know I'd be worthless as a wife and mother once the book arrived, I decided to do responsible things. Cleaning and chores. Check out what I accomplished in the morning:
  • cleaned three different bathrooms
  • stripped all the beds and changed the sheets
  • did the laundry
  • cleaned the inside of the microwave
  • sanitized the kitchen counters
  • scrubbed our stove top -- one of those smooth cooktops that take a little extra effort but are oh so worth it
  • sent a polite, positive, and constructive email to the Girl Scout camp directors with suggestions for next year, including not making the girls clean the bathrooms
  • vacuumed the main floor of the house
  • fed the children at various times
  • picked up random things around the house and put them away
  • received a lame response from one of the Girl Scout camp directors
  • cleaned out and organized the linen closet
  • tidied my desk and dealt with some paperwork
During an hour of this, I was also on the phone with my best friend from college, making plans for a coming event and catching up on life.

By 12:30, I was showered and ready to read. I wandered outside to look at the gardens. I picked a few weeds and tidied a few things.

What I did not do at any point was surf the web, read blogs, check the news, or do anything online. I was trying to keep myself in a cocoon so as not to hear anything about the book.

At 1:25, I was talking with Pete when I heard the mail truck. I know our mailman and guessed that he would pull up our driveway to hand deliver my package. Which he did.

Only, it wasn't my package from amazon.com containing the highly anticipated book. The mailman and I conceded that that was odd, given that everyone else got their book today. I went inside to talk to Pete. I glanced outside and saw that the mailman had pulled the truck aside and was going through all of the mail to see if my package was there. It was not and he went on to the next house.

As I was talking with Pete, it suddenly occurred to me that I had never gotten a confirmation email from amazon.com letting me know my book was on the way. I had Pete go to their website and then I checked my account.

Guess who had forgotten to actually order the book?

I'm such a dumb ass.

Pete offered to go to Barnes & Noble for me so that I could remain in my cocoon. It was very sweet of him, but as he was about to go outside and work on a project that would be hot and sweaty and somewhat backbreaking, I didn't want to add anything to his load. After all, once I started reading, he'd be single parenting for the rest of the day.

I grabbed my purse and Q and headed out. It was when I got into the car that the world seemed to slow down and move at a glacial pace.

First, I noticed that the car's gas light was on, meaning I'd need to stop for gas.

Then, as I was trying to leave the neighborhood, I got stuck behind one of those drivers who goes at least five under the speed limit.

I went to the gas station, which was pretty quick and then pulled into the Barnes & Noble parking lot, at which point I was stopped by the slowest old people in the world, crossing the road. A man and woman. Between the two of them they had a cane and a walker. Traffic was stopped in all directions.

It was like the world was conspiring against me. But, then again, maybe it wasn't.

I parked the car in and pulled out Q. I put on the earbuds and pushed 'play' as I closed the car door and started toward the store.

When I walked in, there were people everywhere and the line at the cash registers was long. The Harry Potter display was right up front, so I grabbed a book and got in the line. The line moved quickly and I soon found myself at the register. I was still listening to Q. I had the music at that level where I could not hear the conversations around me but so that I could still interact with the B&N employee, to whom I apologized for the iPod and explained my motive. I paid and went back to the car. When I got in, I looked the iPod. Four minutes and 20 seconds had elapsed from the time I left the car until I returned. That may be some sort of world record.

When I got home, I settled myself on My Precious. I took a deep breathe and exhaled calmly. This would be the only time in my life that I would read this book for the first time. The only time I would not know what happens. I planned to savor this experience. I opened the cover and began. It was 2:15.

Slightly more than six hours later, I shakily closed the book. I was done. I had read almost nonstop, with occasional short breaks to collect myself, go to the bathroom, have a bite to eat, or move to a different room.

I was in a daze for a few hours afterward. Pete and I watched a couple of episodes of Season 2 of House MD, which helped pull me out of my own head. We went to bed and I even managed to go to sleep, even though my head was full of Harry Potter.

Today, I feel more normal, but still am thinking of the book. Two years ago, I thought about Book #6 for a day or two and then reread it. This time, I'll probably reread selected chapters in the next couple of days but honestly don't think I can handle a full reading quite yet. Too intense and I need to live my life normally.

Pete and the girls are going to an amusement park for the day, so I have the day to myself. I plan to go for a walk shortly. After that, I'm going to immerse myself in work for several hours to get a jump on the week. After that, who knows?

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