It’s a rare weekend that I’ve got Rocket-man’s undivided attention. He’s either working or traveling for work. So just this past Saturday we went out for a lovely breakfast during which he asked what I had planned for the rest of the day.
“Hmm,” I said. “Ive got the same mundane errands to run as usual: The cleaners to drop off shirts…the grocery store (how about steak on the grill for dinner?)…then my car needs a good wash and I have a couple of items that didn’t work for me that I’ve got to return to the mall. Oh…and, I’ve got to stop by Barnes & Noble.”
And there it was. Just for a nano-second. Not clear enough for an outsider to notice but a spouse of sixteen years can. That split-second tightening of the jaw.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Absolutely nothing,” came the reply.
“Ahh…I know. It’s the last item on the list…Barnes & Noble.” Rocket-man smiled. “Do you think you really need another book…what with all the packed boxes of books stacked in the spare bedroom? That would be because at some point we are moving! And, yes folks…. I’m still researching any potential benefits of acquiring eye-of-newt for getting a house sold.
“And…” he continued, “You know you read perhaps all of two pages a night before falling asleep. And aren’t you reading Jacksonland now”
“True,” I said, happy indeed that President Andrew Jackson will not appear on future $20 bills. And true too…I’m not the fastest reader even though I took a speed-reading course in college. “But, I don’t just read at night,” I reasoned. “I’ve even started spending more time at Starbucks, taking a book with me and reading over coffee.” It’s a delicious luxury. “Besides, “I’ve got a 20% off coupon. As a loyal Barnes & Noble member I just cannot let it go to waste.” No more explanations needed, right?
We leisurely finished our breakfast –scrambled eggs and sausage for me and huevos rancheros for him– and then took off to run our errands. Our final stop before home was Barnes & Noble. I honestly believe Rocket-man was hoping that I’d be tuckered out by this time as our errands took longer than expected.
“You know we cannot stay long,” he said as we headed inside the bookstore. “You’ve got those steaks and a gallon of milk to consider.”
“I know. I’ll make it quick,” I said.
Now folks, I’ll happily go on record by stating that Rocket-man is indeed right. I have enough books to keep me fully occupied until I pass from this earth, hopefully if I am lucky, not for another twenty or thirty years from now (so many books….so little time really!) Whats more, those books cover a wide range of genres. You name it, I’ve got it: romance, thrillers, health and fitness, history, spiritual, political, travel, comedy, literary classics, and how-to books as well.
Still, I have a 20% coupon burning a hole in my purse. And did I mention I’m a loyal Barnes & Noble member?! (Oh, um…yes…I did).
We’re in the store for about a half-hour. Rocket-man has perused the aisles but, as it happens nearly every visit to the store, he meets back with me empty-handed. “You didn’t find one thing to interest you?” I ask him. “Nope. I’ve got plenty of books on my Kindle that I still haven’t read.”
“And your point is…?” I reply dryly. You can see that his fiscal restraint in this area doesn’t make sense to me!
“So, what are you getting,” he asks eyeing the books I am cradling in my arms.” “I’m putting all of these back except for two. And, before I show you I admit I have no idea on God’s green earth why I want to read this because it looks like it will be agonizing to get through. It’s by Homer.”
And no…not Homer Simpson. The other Homer. The Greek poet who was born sometime between the 12th and 8th centuries BC. Yes, so little is known about the guy that one can only speculate about his birth date and in fact, it is even disputed whether Homer was the sole author of both classical works The Iliad and The Odyssey.
I turn the book over and show him. Homer’s, The Odyssey. “Did you read it,” I asked. “Yes, in the ninth grade,” Rocket-man said. “But you would have read it as well. It was part of the curriculum.”
“I know. But I vaguely remember the whole story. Do you remember it?” With that Rocket-man started into the story. I saw where this was going. Quickly, I put my hand up.
“Stop!” How silly of me. Why did I even ask? Rocket-man has way more brain cells than I. “Of course you’d remember the whole story after reading it more than forty years ago,” I sighed.
Truly, I’ve no idea why I want to tackle this book after all of these years but I’m gonna give it the “ole college” try— knowing full well that I said the same of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (and yes…I am still working through that book!). I’m keenly aware that my brain cells are slowly shrinking with each passing day. Between the Greek poet Homer and my Duolingo Italian app on my iPhone, I hoping to stem the loss just a bit.
What was the other book, you ask? Cliff Notes for The Odyssey.
Rocket-man literally busted a gut over that.