sleeping wolf

Sunday, December 11, 2005

I know I talk about reading, every now then. But, the last thing I want to encourage is a certain chore-like need to upkeep one's moral and cultural obligation of reading. Reading, for me, is a pleasure in careful measured doses, intermittently broken by binges. Like an addiction which needs a small amount of cultivation, and which life sometimes reproaches deeply. If it weren't for all the subway, train and airplanes I took, I'd never be able to finish reading all the pap I'm inevitably drawn to. It's something to fill in the in-between times of living. And reading too many nasty things will leave you with a stomach ache not unlike after a Doritos binge. It's a dirty dirty thing, reading is.

"God, the bitter misery that reading works in this world! Everybody knows that - everybody who is everybody. All the best minds have been off reading for years. Look at the swing La Rochefoucauld took at it. He said that if nobody had ever learned to read, very few people would be in love. There was a man for you, and that's what he thought of it. Good for you, La Rochefoucauld; nice going, boy. I wish I'd never learned to read. I wish I'd never learned to take off my clothes. Then I wouldn't have been caught in this jam at half-past four in the morning. If nobody had ever learned to undress, very few people would be in love."
-- Dorothy Parker's "The Little Hours."

What a nice thing it is to read a real bitch. Her double sense of irony keeps me going. Like a double rape, or a man who rams his cock up your ass while telling you he'd like you to bear his babies. The shocking truth of both can make you tremble.

I'd like to say that I read for pleasure, but it's not always true. (It's half-true!) I'd like to think we live in a world where we should resist what we are compelled to do, but half of those things would be met with that age-old adage that discipline is what separates man from beast.

Last night, I found myself in the front row, extreme left, in a dark theatre watching the new Potter film. The position was excruciating. The film was excruciating. The man sitting beside me must have had the same feeling. He gradually slid off his chair and lay himself out on the ground in front of me. At odd points he turned his head to watch the film, followed by groans of discomfort and irritation. Finally, towards the end, he rolled into a ball and fell asleep. Maybe he was too tired to leave the theatre, maybe he was hoping for something more. Either way, a man stretched out prone in the front of a cineplex theatre will do nothing for your appreciation of an otherwise lacklustre film.

Still, he was a man who did what he wanted to do: not leave the theatre out of programmed response. Just rolled his eyes deep into his lids and played out his miscontent, much to the embarassment of everyone else. Perhaps he was simply a reader unhappy with the adaptation. Somehow I doubt it. If he was a character in one of my stories, he would be a rather hirsute man who howls at stop signs and shoots blindly into the sun. A real existentialist. What an embarassment these wolves are to the rest of us civilized beasts.

two halves