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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What’s Wrong with Room-Temperature Gin?

Some people buy tools. Others buy shoes.

I buy books.

My sister is staring at the stacks of them on the floor of the living room.

“What?” I say.

She picks one up. “Are these your I’ve-read-these piles or your I’m-going-to-read-these piles?”

“Those are the unread.”

She shakes her head. “You’re never going to die, are you?”

“Don’t you read?”

She shakes her head again, chuckles. “Not like this.”

She puts the book down. “What are you reading now?”

“I just started White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov.”

“Gesundheit.”

“Thank you.”

“And what did you read before that?”

“Why do you ask?”

She shrugs and tilts her head to the left, a movement reminiscent of our mother. “You called that beggar outside the theater a schnorrer.”

I smile. “The last thing I read was a collection of short stories by Sholom Aleichem. Fiddler on the Roof was based on his stories about Tevye the Milkman.”

“Really,” Karen deadpans.

“What?! The guy acted like he was entitled to my leftover malted milk balls! Why should I give him my malted milk balls?”

Karen stares at me.

“The word fit,” I say, emphatically. “And anyway, so what? I’m reading! What should I be reading if not the books I’m reading?”

“Is that accent you’ve just developed courtesy of the collection of Yiddish short stories, too?”

“Maybe,” I say, evasively.

There is a moment of silence.

“You do that, you know,” she says.

“Do what?”

“Remember when you read The Great Gatsby?”

I stare at her.

“Afterward, you wanted to go clamming or some dang thing! You wanted to lay around the house in period dresses and drink room-temperature gin!”

“I’m sensitive,” I say, perhaps a touch defensively.

“And what about when you read The Kitchen God’s Wife? Isn’t that the book that made you say “Ai-eeee” all the time?”

My eyes shift to the right, then to the left. “Maybe.”

She starts to laugh, and then we are both laughing. “You thought you were Chinese,” she says, wiping her eyes with her sleeve. “Oh, my God.”

“I said I’m sensitive, dammit!”

“Oh, yeah," she says. "Sensitive.”

“I am! Shaddap.”

A decision is abruptly made in Karen’s head, and she grabs her purse, roots around for her car keys. “Hmmm,” she says.  “I’m hungry.  A little lunch maybe?  I’m thinking either deli or Chinese.”

34 comments:

vanilla said...

Yes, a little lunch should shift the focus.

Pearl said...

vanilla, :-)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Sister-talk always (or should) lead to laughter and maybe an egg roll.

Delores said...

It's true though....I read a detective story and I'm schlepping around like I have a hidden weapon in my purse and there's a bad guy around every corner. I read a story about pioneers and I drive the car like it's a team of horses. I guess I'm sensitive too lol.

jenny_o said...

You get into your reading; so where's the crime in that, huh?!

I am possibly sensitive too.

jenny_o said...

P. S. If you want to speak Canadian, have a look at Diane's post today (On the Alberta/Montana Border).

But whatever you do, don't say "oot and aboot" - we don't use that!

Do we?

Perpetua said...

So you're a chameleon. There's a big wide world of books out there to keep you busy. :-)

joeh said...

The last book I read was "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats."

I've been seductively licking my paw ever since.

joeh said...

And jenny_o...yes, you do.

Jono said...

joeh, that's yes, you do, eh? (sorry jenny-o).

jenny_o said...

Hah! :)

hoodyhoo said...

Please, half my vocabulary comes from books I've read! Which is why I know swears in several languages and, as a child, pronounced "anxious" as "ank-nauseous." Hey, I'd never heard it said - and feeling kinda queasy 'cause you're nervous SHOULD be ank-nauseous!

Mandy_Fish said...

I still have former students telling me on Facebook that I am "BEST QUALITY TEACHER!" from when I taught them The Joy Luck Club.

Joanne Noragon said...

Karen needs a few more books in her life.

Pearl said...

It's like a party in here.

You guys are funny. (And yes, everyone in Minnesota is a "guy", regardless of sex.)

Ray Denzel said...

sex? did I miss something?

Steve said...

"everyone in Minnesota is a "guy". Learn something new everyday.

bill lisleman said...

Discussing books does make one hungry.

Does this mean if you read Seabiscuit or Black Beauty - you would sound like a horse?

Daisy said...

No point in reading if you can't live vicariously through the book's characters for a while. :D

Leenie B said...

So is there a problem with stacks of books and being "Sensitive?" A pox on all who say thus.

Jacquelineand.... said...

Ummm, I would recommend you NOT read World War Z then.

Elephant's Child said...

As an accent thief and a greedy reader this post doesn't speak but rather shouts at me.
And room temperature gin is fine.

Gigi said...

I have a feeling that there are many of us who are "sensitive" that way.

Now go buy How to Kill A Mockingbird already! Or I'll send it to you.

Launna said...

I used to read like that, I read novel after novel... I spent hours and I loved it. Lately I have little time to read other than blogs :)

Have a great rest of the week Pearl :)

Murr Brewster said...

I don't like to tell tales out of school, but the other day I got laid by a red-headed Scotsman two hundred years ago.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

I am a big fan of pretty much all the alcohols, but I do not care for gin regardless of its temperature.

I hope you will still allow me to read your blog.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

I do that, too. What, I should be boring?

Linda O'Connell said...

Stepping into character is fun. When my New England friend visits I say bahthroom, like she does. Wonder if you had been gesturing with your hands, if your sister would have wanted Italian food.

HermanTurnip said...

I must say I'm influenced by books as well. Heck, when I read A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson I wanted nothing more than to hike the Appalachian Trail. I found myself studiously researching the trail, its history, the best places to pull off the trail, best equipment to carry, training for the hike, the pitfall, and dangers. I was outlining my trip, planning to take some massive time off of work, and was trying to rope in friends to come with me.

But then I read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and found myself obsession over mountain climbing.

I'm so easily swayed....

Franklin Bruce Taylor said...

Oh my god, I do the same thing. From books, from movies. Maybe it was my lonely North Dakota childhood.

Diane Tolley said...

I get all of my vocabulary from what I read. The only drawback is that I don't know how to pronounce the words I garner. And that brings up a whole new discussion . . .
And thank you, Jenny for the mention!

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

When I read I come up with an image of the characters in my head and if I later see a movie based on a book I have read it usually doesn't measure up because the characters are not how I imagine them to be

River said...

I do it too...read a book about Jews and suddenly I'm oy-vey this, oy-vey that, it's weird but fun and confuses the heck out of people who don't read.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

It is super duper fun to step into the characters every once in a while - with moderation of course :)