Thursday, 7 January 2010

Books do Mess up a Room

I stayed home all day yesterday. Well, the weather forecast was for snow, ice, mayhem and misery all day, everywhere. I had no desire to be stranded in the city where I work all evening, so I arranged cover and stayed in. At about one thirty, I took an ice-pick, supplies of pemmican and Kendal mint cake and trudged up to Marks and Sparks for a bottle of wine. I skied back home and didn’t stir out again.

In winter I confine myself to the bedroom, which is small and easy to keep warm. It is a bit of a mess. I desperately need a new bookcase, as the books are now two layers deep on the shelves of the one I bought last year, and there are cairns of books in corners and under tables. If I do buy a new one, though, there is the problem of where the hell to put it. I’m also bugged in here by the naff little phosphorescent stars that some previous tenant stuck all over the ceiling, so that after lights out, the room looks like a tatty Santa’s grotto. I tried removing them, but the paint comes off with them, so they have stayed put.

One obvious solution to the book problem would be to stop buying books. After all, I have read so few of them through and have such a huge pending pile it’s a bit daft to keep on ordering more. Three new ones came clattering through the letterbox yesterday, and I looked at them wishing that somehow it were possible to know all about them without the bother of actually reading them. If you could just gulp them all at once… I remember my nephew at three years old when a big dollop of trifle was sloshed into his bowl said ‘can we have some more when we’ve finished this?’ before he’d taken the first spoonful. I’m a bit like that with books these days.

I have the concentration span of a bluebottle, and I blame the internet. (Of course – it’s not my bloody fault.) The lure of the computer is irresistible to me, and there’s this constant feeling that one is missing something. When I open You Tube and look at the selection of videos it recommends I watch, I get the same sort of greedy paralysis as I do over books. There’ll be Matt Dillahunty dismembering some dim-witted Jesus freak on The Atheist Experience, some other christer denouncing homosexuality, some Iranian musicians, some prancing shirtless twinks and Richard Dawkins dissing God botherers, and I want to have seen them all, rather than watch them one by one. I get started on Dawkins but can’t concentrate on what he’s saying because at the same time I’m intensely curious about the music and itching to ogle the boys. Dammit, I should have gone to work. At least there I have to focus for a few hours and all this irritating, enervating choice is removed.


Via the comments on You Tube I found a blog which is a minor masterpiece of arse-backward reasoning. In it the writer advances the peculiar theory that homosexuality and racism stem from the same impulse, i.e., dislike of The Other. He offers the thought that anyone who opposes racism must, if s/he is consistent, oppose homosexuality and gay rights as well. This was so utterly batty that I did actually slow down and read the whole thing. Why, I asked the writer, do you assume that gay people fear and hate the opposite sex? Do gay men routinely abuse and denigrate women, as nigger-haters and paki-bashers revile black people? Do they derive a sense of identity from openly loathing the female sex? Of course they don't. Most of my friends are female, and in my experience at least, gay men and straight women often get on very well precisely because there is no sexual attraction to complicate the relationship. I’m gay not because I had some bad experience with women, or because I was recruited, or because Satan entered me through the rectum or any of the other crackpot scenarios knocking about, but simply because whatever mental gizmo it is that causes men to desire women is absent from my brain. I just don't experience hetero desire. Homosexuality may have some specific cause, but I couldn’t care less what it is. Anyway, if I am a racist, I am of that species of racist that likes, admires and enjoys the company of the ethnic group I despise.


Bo said...

what a bizarre idea!

vilges suola said...

Very. Suspect a nutter.

Writer said...

How could you even ponder not buying books? :D

vilges suola said...

Oh, I ponder not buying wine, not buying CDs, not buying books, not buying this that and the other. I still keep on buying them, even so.

Fionnchú said...

A depleted account and no shelf space that forced me now to get my "general" reading from the library. It also compels me to get through those stacks of checked-out titles much more rapidly! I can relate, certainly, to tottering volumes and I wonder if I will perish in some L.A. quake under my own Babel Tower, if the Big One hits while I am in my little study, pecking away here.

(word verification: "stabblem")

vilges suola said...

I could use the university library, I suppose, if I could find the time to browse, but the buildings where I teach are a treck from the building where the main office is, and the library is somewhere else again, and I want to get on the earliest possible train home. Anyway, I ordered a new book case, so I will be able to restore order when it arrives.

stan said...

here we are again, why others has to put homosexuality, with something else? Does one explain the others? What a hurry! And what a simple minding!!!
Dear Vilges, I feel so bad writing my bad english, to a teacher, Hope u will forgive me, but my desire of reading u and leave a grateful message, is stronger than fear itself!

vilges suola said...

@Stan, you are absolutely right, people make ridiculous comparisons. This one is one of the daftest I have come across.

Don't apologise for your English, it's much better than my Italian!

David Jeffreys said...

I love books. My home is cluttered with books. Shelves packed tight. Will never get around to reading them all.

So I found a "solution." Bought a Kindle and all my new books are at hand. Still sort of miss the tactile experience of holding the books, especially the leather ones, but hey, no more trying to hold heavy books to read and no more shelving problems!

Vilges Suola said...

Not for me, Kindle. I need the tactile experience of books. I like contemplating the shelves. Also there's no chance of the books getting wiped.


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