Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday Cleaning

Something must be wrong with me. I spent this morning cleaning, first my bedroom, then my bathroom. I really don't like to clean and always procrastinate, especially on cleaning the bathroom. I stayed up until about 2:00a.m. reading a book that I couldn't wait to continue reading this morning. I even woke up early, 7:15, and started reading it again.

Yet, by 8:30, I had finished my first cup of coffee and decided I needed to clean. My messy bedroom was getting on my nerves, and (I think) the book I was reading, The History of Love, was making me sad. So I spent the morning finishing the cleaning that I had been putting off all week. Earlier in the week, I had cleaned the kitchen and living room and straightened up the dining room, which can never be completely free of mail/printer/work stuff--I don't have a study or work space other than my dining room table. But I kept saying I would do the bedroom and bathroom tomorrow, but I never specified which tomorrow. I guess today was the day though.

As I was cleaning, which included dusting, something I rarely do, I became tearful every time I looked at a photo of my mom and/or my dad. I have a family photo from several Christmases ago that my sister-in-law or my niece copied and framed for each of us. I haven't paid much attention to that photo in a while, but today after I dusted it, I sat on the bed and studied it. My dad was completely dressed and standing with no help, smiling his smile. I don't even remember the last time he looked like that.

I had to resume cleaning to keep from lying on the bed and bawling my eyes out. Then I came across some photos of my mom and I in England many years ago. More tears ensued (and they are falling as I write this too). I actually had already decided to procrastinate on the bathroom, but the feelings of sadness seemed to dissipate only when my brain was occupied with cleaning, so I cleaned the bathroom, even the shower walls and tub, something I rarely do. (Sidenote: Recently, I bought some Easy-Off Bam, and it works really well in the bathroom. If you have a hard to clean tub/shower or haven't cleaned in a while, like me, you should try it.)

I never intended to read The History of Love next. I finished both Case Histories and Runaway at the end of last week. As usual when I finish one book, I have a huge stack of to-read books and even more on a list. It usually takes me a day or two to settle on a new book. I thought I was using from Kite Runner, The Curious Incident of the Dog, and The Penelopiad. I even entertained the idea of reading The Penelopiad while I read one of the two novels.

Then I read a comment on a Bookworld post, and I clicked the name of the commenter and was taken to her blog, A Work in Progress. The most recent blog was about her beginning to read Sophie's Choice. I bought Sophie's Choice a while ago, intending to re-read as soon as possible, but I kept reading new reads instead--my copy of SC is 562 pages and as I have said before I am a slow reader, so you can understand why I hesitated.

After reading this blog post, I decided that SC should be my next read. I read the first chapter, 25 pages, and thought I had made the right choice. Then I spied The History of Love, in the stack on my headboard. I picked it up and began to read. I immediately began to feel an affinity for the first narrator, a lonely old man who "[makes] a point of being seen" because "all [he wants] in not to die on a day when [he] went unseen." How poignant! For some reason I am reminded of a quote from 1984, a quote that I describe as beautifully depressing: "He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear." Being invisible must be the saddest thing a person can experience.

So I stayed up late last night reading, thinking that I would stop at the end of the next section and go back to Sophie's Choice, but I haven't yet. Now, I have a clean apartment and can get back to reading The History of Love. Hopefully, my sadness has been cleansed from my psyche for today, and only pleasure will accompany further reading.


danielle said...

I also just read a review of The History of Love and now I have added it to my wish list. It sounds very good. I hope you pick Sophie's Choice back up. It is really good. I was also eyeing the length (and the pages filled with small print), but I thin that once I get into it, it is going to go fast.

litlove said...

I usually carry a wodge of about 6 books around with me for a good half a day while I decide what to read next. I could probably get quite a bit of a novel read in the time it takes me to choose! I really enjoyed Case Histories and have The History of Love on my list to read very soon... quite tempted to do so now.