book I’m allegedly reading

I’ve been on every plane in America.

Thank you, Pamela, for the greatest time of my young (shut up, I’m young) life. I’m exhausted, disheveled, laundry-less (well, the clean kind), in possession of a new job, and completely unsure as to where I am at any given moment. But LA was the most fun, and I’m glad for its existence. And I’m glad I’m home. And I’m glad that LA feels like my home as well. Look at me, all 14,000 Things To Be Happy About. Also, puppies and lollipops and fresh peanut chews! Sorry. Perhaps I’ll balance out the karma of the universe and tell you in the next paragraph a lot of things that kind of suck.

Oh look, the next paragraph.

Okay. A story. My friend Miranda once called me “the single most impatient person [she’s] ever met in [her] life, ever. Ever.” Then she paused. And then she thought about it. And then she added “ever.” The suspense of waiting for that final, punctuated, completing-the-rule-of-threes “ever” damn near killed me. And it made me very strongly agree with her assessment of my patience, compared to that of the rest of the universe.

And, I mean, it’s kind of true. I like it when people answer the phone after one ring. Or fewer, if possible. I take the lack of an idling train waiting for me when I arrive at the subway track as a personal affront against me, nature, and logic. I don’t ever understand where the cable guy is when he’s not at my house, fixing my cable. I like things done.

There is, however, one notable exception.

I have patience for crappy books. And I read a lot of them, I think. Yes, I read classics. But also, I read trash. I’m kind of a whore to the bestseller list, and I’m not above admitting that The Devil Wears Prada is about me and that I loved The DaVinci Code because I think it’s a stunning testament to literature that a writer can effectively describe a really kick-ass car chase. I’d never read a book with a car chase in it! And now I have. I slogged all the way through Atonement, the most Anglophile-friendly overwrought pomp since “Champagne Supernova,” a book in which the narrative gaze seems to freeze permanently on an alabaster fountain, and the only action that gets described is that which inadvertently wanders in front of said fountain. I read The Corrections in three days and loved it, and I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay in three months and loved it. The only thing I didn’t like about the book of The Hours was the bittersweet sadness I felt every time I read a word, knowing that I would never have the chance to read that word for the first time ever, ever again. I don’t lose patience with any book. I’m amazed that people can write books at all.

There is, however, one notable exception.

I cannot finish Life of Pi. Have you read this book? One of my very best friends in the world (and my eighth-grade lab partner…well, my former eighth-grade lab partner) told me I had to read it. And I am reading it. And I’m glad I am. Except. Well, this isn’t a spoiler (and it probably doesn’t matter if it is or not…I feel like if you haven’t heard of the book by now, you’re never going to read it. AND IT’S NOT LIKE THEY’RE GOING TO MAKE IT INTO A MOVIE BECAUSE OF THAT ONE PART WHERE NOTHING HAPPENS), but sometimes kind of nothing happens. And sometimes things TOTALLY happen. Sometimes a Bengal tiger devours the entire stomach of a still-living zebra. But then, sometimes, this:

“It was the gaffs that finally proved to be my most valuable fishing equipment. They came in three screw-in pieces: two tubular sections that formed the shaft — one with a moulded plastic handle at its end and a ring for securing the gaff with a rope — and a head that consisted of a hook measuring about two inches across its curve and ending in a needle-sharp, barbed point. Assembled, each gaff was about five feet long.” (p. 194)

“I would wait. I would wait for hours.” (ibid.)

My epic patience is being tested. But it’s supposed to change my life, so they say. So I’ll keep you posted. Why do I stop so abruptly? I lack the patience to continue.