Last night, I sat with my husband Jesse on the porch–I was waiting for my cheeseburger and salad to be ready for pickup; he was waiting for our friends Tim and Pat to pick him up. As we watched Pat’s metallic- orange Acura pull up in front of the house, I grabbed my keys and gave my husband a quick kiss goodnight. I walked down with Jesse to Pat’s car to say my hellos to the boys. Pat asked from the driver’s seat, “Oh, hey Mandy! You coming along?”
“Nah!” I responded. “I’m gonna go pick up some food and then read my book all night. It’s what I do!”
Pat raised his fist in tribute. He appreciates people who do what they want, when they want.
I have good friends. Pat and Tim are some of the best that I’ve ever had, always respectful of my quirky obsession with reading and books. They both have their own quirky obsessions as well (an intense love for cats, basketball, music, and Castle, to name a few). They’re also my #1 Comic-Con buddies, the ones who taught me to take pride in my borkyness.
But, they’re not borks. Neither are the majority of my colleagues at school. In fact, it is shocking how little the English teachers I’ve encountered in my five years of teaching actually read, considering that their job is to push students into reading. A gang of non-readers attempting to create readers. It sounds like a crock of caca to me!
There aren’t many borks in my adult life. People who are passionate about reading, who’d prefer to spend their evenings and weekends finishing their latest read, so that they may move on to the next one. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by passionate people, friends who are obsessed with creating art, films, and music. They understand and respect my obsession. They just don’t share it.
So, what happened to all of the peers I had in elementary school with the same passion? The ones who I spied across the classroom doing the same thing I was doing–hiding a paperback in their lap as they pretended to read from the textbook.
As a kid, I had lots of borks for friends. We would have sleepovers, do a lot of the normal sleepover rituals–eat pizza, watch a movie. But, as it got late, we’d pull out our latest Babysitter’s Club book or Fear Street, and would read contentedly next to each other until we passed out. I was never good at sleeping in, so often would I wake up at dawn, while my friend (or friends) was still asleep, and raid her bookshelves. In 6th grade, I made friends with another girl who shared my adult horror taste, and while she slept until noon, I nearly finished one of her Dean Koontz novels.
What happened to these girls? Are they still avid readers? Or did their passion die as they entered adulthood, now tied up in careers or parenting or some other new passion?
Maybe they’re doing exactly what I’m doing. Perhaps they have discovered this wonderful online community of readers with whom they can have their own virtual sleepovers all over again, reading quietly next to the rest of us, and then sharing their delights via keyboard.
Are all of you my adult sleepover friends? I think so.
So, I want to say thank you to all of the book bloggers and other avid readers on the internet who engage with me daily about our shared passion. A year ago, I thought I was just some odd bookish duck; reading was yet another peculiarity to add to my quirks list. Now I see that I’m not so different–there are many of us.
The next time there’s a big readathon, like the Dewey’s in April, I vote that we all order pizza, snuggle up in the wee hours, and appreciate this wonderful virtual sleepover that we’re all so lucky to have discovered!