Sunday, October 02, 2005
My life used to be simpler. Fewer choices, fewer distractions. In the 1980's, Tocci and I lived in Key West with no television, no computer, no car (do I need to mention, no air conditioning), no extra money. We worked during the day, and in the evenings we talked, visited with friends, played cards or backgammon, and read library books. On the weekends, we spent long hours at the beach. We did some political work, which involved meetings and organizational work, and sometimes we worked evenings at the Sunset Celebration. But in general, the pace of life was reasonable. We had a baby in 1987, moved to the mainland for good in 1993, got our television set in 1998, and our computer in 1999. (The tv doesn't have cable or an antenna; we only use it to watch videotapes and dvd's.) In the past few years, I have started to notice that I'm reading less, especially books. I enjoy watching movies and browsing the internet, and there are only so many hours in the day. One remedy for this situation has been multi-tasking, and for reading purposes that means audiobooks. With books on tape/cd I can "read" while I do housework, exercise, crochet, pull weeds, paint the walls, or drive. At one point when I just started with audiobooks, I had one story on cd in my car, one on tape in my Walkman, and I was reading a third at home in the evenings, an actual book. That got a little confusing, and I only did it once. My audio selections are much more random than my book selections because the choice is more limited--I can't afford to buy/rent them regularly, so I make do with what the library has. That has led to some mediocre experiences (Seabiscuit) some bad experiences (a terrible Stephen King story about a haunted car) and some good experiences that were happy accidents (Sin Killer, by Larry McMurtry). Audiobooks have also gotten me through some books that I probably would not have finished in the print version. Since it's more passive, it's less effort, and I was glad to experience a biography of Shakespeare and David McCullough's John Adams. Recently I have been having trouble finding the chunks of time I need to give Jonathan Franzen's first novel, The Twenty-Seventh City the attention it deserves, so I went to audiobooks.com to see if they had it on cd. They don't, but they have Tom Robbins' latest, and that's something I'm likely to want to listen to more than once, so I ordered it. Amazon.com has audiobooks, too, and sometimes I forget that. I was on Amazon yesterday, too, ordering the latest Vonnegut (A Man Without a Country) and Paul McCartney's newest offering. So now I have something to look forward to. Anticipation is one of life's greatest pleasures. A complicated, busy life can also be a happy one.