I woke this morning from a dream I knew I should try to remember, but couldn’t–it wisped away in fragments even as I reached for them. I gave it up as a lost cause. When I glanced at the clock on the nightstand, I smiled to see that it showed 4:30. I’d gone to bed at ten, so maybe that’s not enough sleep to keep me buoyant and energetic until bedtime tonight, but it was enough sleep to propel me eagerly out of bed and into the quiet morning by myself, where I could be alone with my thoughts, my coffee, my book, and Horatio rolling luxuriantly toward me on his perch by the window, meowing hello.
When I walked toward the living room, I was startled to discover, by a chair, a large pile of items not there when I went to bed: brown leather boots, a voluminous silver pack, various articles of clothing, a bright white helmet, and on the other side of the chair, squashing flat Horatio’s long cardboard tunnel, a heavy blue riding suit, designed to keep rain at bay while motorcycling. Jesse was here! I slowed and tiptoed toward the living room, but when I peered around the corner of the hall toward the couch, all I saw was a rumpled blanket and a couple of decorative pillows. Ah, he must be sleeping in Torie’s room, as Torie is gone overnight with a friend.
Sure enough, I was reading and sipping coffee when he himself peered around the corner, heavy-lidded and tousel-haired, to wave at me before heading for the bathroom. He poked his head in again, afterwards. ‘I’m going to try to catch a little more sleep,’ he said. ‘I want to put the handlebars on the bike today!’ and waved to me once more before disappearing back into the bedroom.
These days, he’s all about ‘the bike.’
He’s buying Scott’s motorcycle, or more accurately, he is buying another motorcycle from a friend, which he will then give to Scott, who has passed on his motorcycle to him. It is a perfect circle. In this scenario, we all come out winners, as now Scott and I will have a bigger, more comfortable bike–with deep saddlebags and an extra pack for the back!–and Jess will have a smaller bike suited for one, relatively inexperienced rider. We are already plotting long rides together. The other bike will be ready in about a week, and then it’s onward ho toward Eastern Oregon and the desert.
As simply as I want to live, I find myself surprised, sometimes, by the breadth of my acquisitive nature. I inherited a Kindle recently–rather reluctantly, I might add, because from the get-go I had developed a prejudice against them for no particular reason other than they weren’t actual books–but this was one that had been given to one of my kids, who in turn found he didn’t use it, so it was offered to me. Why not? I thought. I’ll give it a go.
I’m in love.
It took about an hour to delete all the data accumulated by two other owners: articles on Catholicism; books on computer systems, conspiracy theories, and the Illuminati; news stories about the war in Turkey. I kept The Dark Tower series and Game of Thrones. Then I set about gathering my own beloved books about me. The Kindle store currently has 54, 570 free books to choose from, three-quarters of which seem to have been written in crayon by second-graders, but the remaining fourth of which are spun gold. This morning I downloaded The Letters of Pliny the Younger! If I want his uncle’s 37-volume encyclopedia, Naturalis Historia–and I do, because I am apey for naturalists right now and can’t get enough–I can get it for under $10.
Ahem. Those of you who have Kindles, I know, I know. I am preaching to the choir. To those of you who don’t, I apologize for the exultation. Actually, I’m just whistling a happy little tune.
One more thing. After going out to breakfast yesterday morning, Scott and I drove to the Goodwill in Gresham so I could look for a folio for it. Possibly one of the only upsides to owning a first generation anything is that people tend to upgrade like bunnies and drop their old stuff off at thrift stores. I found a brand new, deep purple, soft leather folio for under $5. I love how it feels in my hands, the smell of the leather–everything about it. It’s perfect.
Anyway, I’d started talking about my acquisitive nature and got sidetracked, but there isn’t much to the subject so I’ll just cap it off with this. One afternoon, when I was huddled in a fetal position on the couch due to complaints relating to the cycle of the moon, some kind of original curse, and Granny visiting, I trawled through the first thousand “free books’ pages in the Kindle store–not an exaggeration–and downloaded about 184 books and short stories. Shortly after that I put six books on hold at the library. This, when I have an entire bookcase at home devoted to volumes I’ve picked up from various places but haven’t read yet.
My pulse races and I get shortness of breath when I imagine not having a new book to read, so I build them up around me like the blocks of an igloo, fortification against blizzards and ice and penguin-munching polar bears, insulation against the hard, cold world.
I keep thinking about what Thoreau said–“I have traveled widely in Concord.” Adventuring from the back of a motorcycle, or from the seat of my rocking chair, it doesn’t matter. I have traveled widely, and I am warm and safe. There are worse addictions.