reading style

earlier this week, i received an email from a coworker’s brother.

said coworker has been out of the country visiting that brother and i’ll admit it, my heart stopped when i realized who the email was from. i was so nervous to read the letter (because it could only contain bad news, right? why else was he contacting me?), i processed only about every fourth word of the email. i was skipping and searching and looking for the bad news.

it took about three read-throughs until i understood the gist of the email, which was that there was plane trouble in amsterdam and coworker would not be back to work thursday, but rather friday.


but the way i read that email got me thinking, because i’m normally a very through reader. i don’t often skim, as i like to savor the words and the worlds and the characters and the stories i’m reading. even work emails. i don’t want to miss anything important.

that said, i did find myself skimming through a series recently. a very popular series that i never should have read and never would have read if it wasn’t to satisfy my curiosity as to why EVERYONE was reading it. the writing was bad, the characters flat, and the situations disturbing (to me at least), but the first book ends on a cliffhanger and i’d made it that far i had to know what happened next, so i read the second one, and hell, i’d read that far, i might as well finish the dang series.

it wasn’t worth much more than a quick read through because a lot of what goes on is repetitive and if you breeze through, you won’t miss anything, which only reinforced my decision to read without paying much attention. i don’t like that i did it because everything i read (good, bad, mediocre) is a learning tool and i fear i raced too fast through that lesson.

(don’t make me go back through it again! nooooooooo!)

have you found yourself skimming through anything lately or do you take your time when reading? or perhaps you’re a constant skimmer and so you re-read things in order to make sure you digest them properly? why do you skim? or if you’re on the other side, why do you rarely skim? do you like skim milk? how about skim boarding? how many other ways can i use the word skim?

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convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #33

i’m talking with strangers … here’s why.

after an email from our receptionist warning us about the towing going on outside, my guts twisted. i had driven to work that day because, post work, i had planned to drive down to NJ to see maga, who’s in town visiting, as well my other family members. because i rarely drive to work, i don’t know the street cleaning schedule and that’s a big reason why they tow in this town.

i flew outside and sure enough, my car was jacked up.

me: *breathless with panic* oh, please don’t drive away!! *waves wallet* i’ll pay you right now.

tow guy: *stares at me*

me: please? if i pay you now can you not drive off with my car?

tow guy: man, you are really lucky. one more second, i mean one more, and i’d have been outta here.

me: *chuckles, pitifully, mirthlessly, angrily* so i can pay you now?

tow guy: okay. that’ll be $90. it’s cash only you know.

me: yes, i figured it was cash only. *searches wallet* i have $50. i’ll give that to you now if you promise to wait here while i run to the atm.

tow guy: i said i’d wait, so i’ll wait. my word is good.

me: thank you!

tow guy: how far is the atm?

me: there are two around here, both off mass ave. it’ll take me 10-15 minutes? *ponders how fast she’ll have to run to pull that off.*

tow guy: well, here, why don’t i give you a lift to one of them.

me: oh, okay. *figures it’s better to be in the tow truck that’s captured my car than to be running willy nilly through the streets.*

i climb into his truck and after a brief discussion about which atm is closer (i’m at his mercy, i’ll go wherever is easiest for him because i don’t want him changing his mind and charging me more or deciding to take my car to the tow yard after all), we pull away from the curb. the guy then proceeds to try and make me feel better (“this is the worst part of my job” “we towed this one guy twice this week”), but the fact that i don’t have to cab over to some unknown tow yard and pay upwards of $150 to release my car is enough to squash the ugliness of having to fork over $90 at 11am on a friday morning.

tow guy: in order for this to be safe, i’m going to pull into this market’s parking lot. you do your atm thing and i’ll start unhooking your car.

me: thanks.

i return with the necessary cash, hand it over, and just like that my car is back in my possession. my panic subsides and everything feels lighter, particularly my wallet.

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guest post: grandpa, round 4

my grandpa is dispensing some knowledge, here tooalso here, and would you look at that? even more below. are you digging it as much as i am?

A sound mind in a sound body, is a short but full description of a happy state in this world. John Locke, philosopher (1632-1704)

In the common words we use every day, souls of past races, the thoughts and feelings of individual men stand around us, not dead, but frozen into their attitudes like the courtiers in the garden of the Sleeping Beauty. Owen Barfield, author (1898-1997)

Everyone, in some small sacred sanctuary of the self, is nuts.
Leo Rosten, author (1908-1997)

If words are to enter men’s minds and bear fruit, they must be the right words shaped cunningly to pass men’s defenses and explode silently and effectually within their minds. J.B. Phillips, writer and clergyman (1906-1982)

A word in a dictionary is very much like a car in a mammoth motorshow — full of potential, but temporarily inactive. Anthony Burgess, author (1917-1993)

There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own, which is the chief reason for that kind of reception it meets in the world, and that so very few are offended with it. Jonathan Swift, satirist (1667-1745)

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convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #32

i’m conversing with strangers … here’s why.

i was waiting in an odd shaped line that was more a grouping of people than a queue. i eyeballed the crowd trying to figure out if they were all one party or if they were all super excited to be purchasing books. the guy at the other cash register made eye contact and sort of shrugged at me. i meandered my way through the crowd and over to his helpfulness.

i was fiddling with my wallet trying to find the gift card that had $6 left on it when he spoke up. “it’s mumford, right?”

“yes, it is!” i said coolly, calmly, collectedly, when in my head, i was doing something like this:

I’M A REGULAR!!!!!!!

becoming a regular somewhere has been a dream of mine for ages. i don’t care where, i just want to go where everybody knows my name. of course it was at my local bookstore, but the really shocking part was that i was wearing no makeup and a baseball hat (what? it was sunday) and i was still recognized! that means i’m like a super regular. i wonder if that title comes with a cape?

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