I havenít been an avid television viewer in decades now, not since the days of Saturday morning cartoons. And not the garbage they pawn off on kids these days. Actually, considering the fact that I donít even have cable television (and havenít in years), Iím unsure if Saturday morning cartoons even exist anymore.
No, when I leave the office I typically head home for whatever novel has recently piqued my interest or pick up an old favorite and simply read.
Unbelievable, I know.
It seems that, in many ways, those who read for leisure are a dying breed. Reading isnít my only hobby, of course. I enjoy a good round of golf, fishing with buddies, a game of chess, listening to music and playing the guitar (that oneís more of an obsession, really). Yet reading has been, by far, my favorite hobby since I was a young child.
My problem is that I tend to read, then re-read, my entire collection of novels over and over (and over) again. A part of this is that I absolutely love to read and itís easy for me to get lost in a favorite book, even if Iíve already devoured it a dozen times before. It makes no difference. The other reason for this, however, is the fact that the library is kind of like sensory overload for me. Iím the same way in a video store; I simply canít make up my mind. Because of this, itís fairly rare for me to get truly excited for a newly released novel. Deep down I know Iíll run across it sooner or later and grab it up. This was not, however, the case over the last week.
It began as a pretty typical day in the office. I came in as I would any other day, typed away for a couple of hours, drank my coffee and, at noon, walked home for a quick lunch (which I enjoyed while reading one of those old favorites I mentioned earlier).
The surprise was waiting for me when I returned to my cubicle at The Evening Sun.
It was innocuous enough really, just a simple, brown paper bag. I was suspicious anyway though, as I certainly wasnít expecting any such item to be occupying my desk upon my arrival. I was fairly certain it was safe, so far as I could tell, as I couldnít think of anyone Iíd offended so badly as to warrant one of those scary, dangerous, exploding mystery bags.
With a rueful shrug I crept slowly up to the strange item and, ever so carefully, peeked up over the edge, only to see Ė a book. And not just any book. This was a book Iíd waited years to read.
And then it clicked.
A co-worker and fellow book-aholic, who will remain anonymous (Melissa S.), was the only person in the office who would have known about the recent release of the latest Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson novel. How, you ask? Probably because I had spent the previous month or so speaking of little else. To make a long story short, the reading of this novel was one of those rare occasions where there would be no wait. I would get my hands on this book at the first opportunity. Except, due to some shipping issues, followed by a lack of sufficient funds (I paid some bills instead), I hadnít planned on purchasing the book until the end of the week.
Of course the first thing I did was thank my generous co-worker, who, when asked how much I owed her, simply said Merry Christmas. After my shock wore off (my mind was still reeling from the unexpected gift) I began to wonder.
Maybe itís the reporter in me, but I just had to wonder why. There were any number of possible explanations. Maybe this was a kind of Christmas insurance policy. You know, buy someone a gift, especially a priceless one such as this, and youíre guaranteed something cool when December 25 rolls around. But I knew that wasnít it. Maybe this was all a ploy to garner votes for Employee of the Year, yet I hadnít seen any other mysterious gifts floating around the office, just this one.
Then it hit me.
My co-worker was out to see me fired. She knew I wouldnít be able to resist the pull of this long-awaited jewel of a novel. She knew it. Quickly I hid the book away (so as not to be tempted to began reading while on the job) and continued to ponder. Her plot was a devious one, to be sure. She knew Iíd be unable to stop the reading frenzy once it began. I would lose precious hours of sleep in the days to come, Iíd be completely unable to focus at work and there was no way around it.
This theory, of course, was ridiculous.
In reality, Iím fairly confident that Melissa simply took pity on me as a fellow book-lover (that and she was probably sick of hearing me talk about the bookís recent release). It was a kind and friendly gesture, and it really jump-started my holiday spirit, so thanks Melissa. Iíve since finished the book (and yes, I lost quite a bit of sleep) and I must say, the years of waiting were well worth it. My only problem? What am I going to read now?