Sunday, October 23, 2016

Weird, Wonderful and Wearying

Wanton idleness and wonderful books were the theme of the day yesterday, when as planned I spent the day pinballing from couch to bed and back again during Dewey's readathon. Much like my dry run, I didn't make it to the 24-hour mark. Honestly, I've come to accept that if I couldn't pull off an allnighter when I was in my 20s, at 48 I might be asking for the impossible. By two o'clock in the morning, neither pride, love of books nor spirit of competition were speaking to me; I was deaf to all but the sirens call of my sweet pillow. Ultimately, having consumed three and a half books or 1108 pages and quadruple that amount in calories between snacks and meals, I proclaimed the day a success, and my weary body succumbed to sleep. As for the weird in the title, skeevy is probably more appropriate; but more on that later.

The day dawned cold, wet and windy as forecasted. I hit the ground running with the novel Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, a YA thriller that proved both gripping and insightful. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley was up next and this one, though I hate to point fingers, might have been to blame for my readathon downfall. It was such a charming, funny and utterly touching read that I skipped my planned siesta, a fact which came back to bite me in the behind at 2 am. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda was next at bat; an original and compelling thriller and murder mystery, uniquely told backwards from day 15 to day 1. Last, but not least, was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, a biography filled with 'heartbreaking and hilarious, fascinating and freaky, vivid and morbid' stories from a young, twentysomething year old mortician. Hindsight is 20/20 they say, so here I acknowledge a moment of temporary insanity for knowing that I was barely keeping my eyes open, I decided to start my fourth book from the comfort of my warm bed. Dumb, de-dumb, dumb.

Now to the weird. It happened during Lily and the Octopus. I was reading and enjoying the book thoroughly when I turned the page and there flattened between the pages, like someone would press and dry a small delicate flower for posterity, was a bunch, a clump, a gaggle (I don't know what you'd call it), but more than a few long strands of hair. Eek! I was more than a little grossed out, but I calmly walked to my garbage can and let them slide into the receptacle without touching them. Again, I was a little skeeved but not enough to put the book down and stop reading. I continued reading, enjoying the story as much as before, when lo and behold, again more hair. I had to repeat the process, not once or twice, but 3 or 4 times.

Yes, in a stroke of pure genius (or not) it would appear the reader before me used their hair as an au naturale bookmark of sorts. Deranged or ingenious? You be the judge. The wackiest part of this story is that, swear on the Bible, this is not the first time this has happened to me. What are the freaking odds? I spared you all the gory details the first time, but a second time is just too freaky not to share. The worst part? I obviously share this enterprising weirdo's reading taste (unless there is more than one of them out there), so there's a good possibility this will happen again! I shudder at the thought.

All things considered, I'm glad for the experience. Will I do it again? Ugh, probably not. How many readathons do you really need in a lifetime? I'd say two should suffice to duly impress the masses.