Wednesday, August 20, 2008

For nerds only

We have this treasure in Regina, you've probably heard of her. Her name is Jana Pruden. She's a columnist for the Sunday Sun (whatever they call it now), and she also gets A3 in the LP, and she covers crime. I think she's co-written two books. She's pretty funny. Like our very own Leah McLaren, except I think she's actually very nice, and she's married so we don't have to hear about her constant search for love and transatlantic troubles.

(First of all, I'll point out that both these girls live one of the lives I could have chosen, had I not instead wasted my twenties. I'd be a combo of the two; I'd write for the Globe like Leah, but not pretend I was Helen Fielding or whatever it is that Leah's going for with all her "I'm moving to London" crap. And I'd have dark hair like Jana. I woulnd't want to cover crime, I'm too emotional and I would be crying all the time when I heard something upsetting, but I would like to have the inside page of the LP section A as my own little section of real estate.)

Last week JP wrote a column called So much reading, so little time. I couldn't believe it. I thought I was the only other normal person alive who used to walk and read at the same time. Now it seems like every guy with a long black trenchcoat and greasy hair does it; back then the prerequisite was only that ubur-coolness that only a true nerd could have. Like me.

She also mentioned reading voraciously. Okay. I used to get on my little orange bike, that I loved, and peddle furiously over to the Bookmobile. I don't know if every area of the city got the Bookmobile, or if it was strictly a north end thing, but it came on Tuesdays. It was totally the best day of the week.

Dumping my bike outside, I'd scoot up those metal grated steps and into the air conditioned oasis of the travelling book trailer. It was always freezing, and outside it was likely +37 or something like that. I never remember it raining on Bookmobile days (maybe that's 'cause my mum didn't let me bike over there when it was raining...). It was always crazy hot.

I'd take as many books as I could fit in my bag. It was always a challenge getting home. Back in the day, when I was little, my mum hadn't heard of backpacks. Maybe that was a north end thing, too. Maybe kids all over south Regina had cool backpacks. Anyways, the lack of a backpack meant it was tricky to manouver the bike home. Sounds easy, right, but if you haven't been on a bike for a long time, it's bloody difficult to hang the bag off one side of the handlebars and steer.

But I was a trooper. And then, sometimes, as a treat (for me or for her, I'm still not sure), my mum would let me spend the whole day in bed, reading. I usually felt nauseas and had a headache by late afternoon, eyestrain. Probably why I can't see anything without my glasses now. But those days were totally the best. I KNOW - what a nerd.

In elementary school, I also perfected the art of reading under my desk. To be fair, maybe I never perfected it, I was always getting caught and then my grade six teacher told me if I was going to "sneak read" I should at least read something worthwhile. He gave me some book about a nuclear war, where everybody went and lived under ground until the mushroom clouds cleared up, and ate pellets instead of food.

Another nerd moment is the dilemna I faced, similar to the one JP faces in her column. It has to do with newspapers. This is for true nerds, so go ahead and stop reading. There are very few of us.

We get the LP. Always have. Then we indulged, that's how I thought of it, in the Saturday Globe. They phoned us with a deal; so we signed up for the Friday Globe. It's like an appetizer, a little taste of what's to come. THEN, and this was huge for us, they offered us the entire week, for just pennies more than what we were paying for the weekend paper. How could we refuse? We didn't.

The shit really hit the fan, though, when they phoned with this one. We could also have....the Sunday New York Times. Granted, it would be delivered on Tuesday, and sometimes even Thursday, but to think. Here, in Regina, I could sip my coffee and read the Sunday New York Times. That is the epitome of nerd. How excited I was.

At first it was awesome. But then the papers were backpiling. There was no way I could get through them, and no way I was recycling them till I finished. So I'd do the carryover, making a pile of papers "to read" and getting through at least a section a day. It was work, all the sudden. Soph just doesn't feed herself, you know, and she wasn't too keen on me drinking pots of coffee and reading the papers all day.

So I cancelled them. All except the LP and the Fri/Sat Globe. It's quieter here, the kids get fed more frequently. But the day will come, mark my words, when I get the Sunday New York Times, delievered Sunday, and I can spend the day in bed reading.

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