Coffee with Mimi: Don’t leave home without it

Published 9:30 am Saturday, May 22, 2021

There are shelves of books in my home. My tendency to hoard books is well documented. I always have at least four or five books on my bedside table just waiting to be cracked. A book could be on the pile because it was a recent gift or because it has been on a shelf for a while or because someone mentioned it in a TV interview and I ordered it.

There is a commercial for a credit card advising you shouldn’t leave home without it. Well, I don’t leave home without a book.

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You just never know when you will be stuck in some place, say a doctor’s office or a hospital room or in a car while someone else is in a doctor’s office during a pandemic, with nothing to do.

Recently, I was instructed to sit in my car during a loved one’s medical procedure.  I promise you that is exactly what I was told to do. Not, you can go shopping and we will call you when we need you. I was  told to go sit in my car.

In these situations, I play a game to estimate how long the “procedure” will take.  Well, this particular time, after listening to the medical professionals involved, I guessed I would be car incarcerated for about seven hours. I was, unfortunately, correct.

I figured I could have driven to Nashville, had lunch with my brother, driven back to the parking lot, and no one would have been the wiser. A casual survey of the parking lot revealed multiple cars containing individuals all doing what we were told to do; waiting in the car.

But I had a book. Which I finished. Full disclosure, it wasn’t a mind bender, but it beat climbing the walls. It was a book I had considered not finishing at all as the author was beginning to get on my nerves. But I do hate to leave something I start undone forever. On this particular day, I accomplished two things; I finished a book I didn’t really care for and I waited in the car as I was told to.

As a life rule, I think I have earned the right to read what I want to read. If I don’t enjoy the subject or the writing style, it is not a crime to leave it be. I mean, it isn’t like homework for a less than engaging, but painfully required, class in my major course of study. The kind where the professor makes up some exam question he/she picked out of a random passage just to prove a point. The point being to demonstrate you read the required book.

The time has come when I don’t have to prove anything with my literary choices.  It is possible that I will be making a mistake if I dump a book because the author is annoying and hasn’t sold me on his premise by a hundred pages in. Yes, it’s possible the last hundred pages could be life altering. It could be like trying brussel sprouts again after a first awful encounter with the dish in a restaurant when I was a kid. What was I missing all these years?

But it is just one book and there are millions more out there. I will find a book by someone who hits the nail on the head in her first couple paragraphs with plenty more to come.

I will be going on a trip later this summer. This is a plane trip. Planes have weight and size limits for luggage. This trip is longer than the usual and no obligation to entertain or care for children. A perfect opportunity to read. Our accommodations include a washer and dryer. Less clothing needed; more space for books in the suitcase going and coming.

When I travel, I enjoy finding a local independent bookstore. It is part of the experience of visiting a place. I spy out one of the staff who looks as though he or she is more interested in helping the shoppers than leaning against the checkout counter.

I tell this person what subjects I like, hoping there is a local writer among the recommended choices. This method has never disappointed. Without exception, every book purchase made at just such a bookstore has been read, and did not disappoint. 

In preparation for the upcoming trip, I have taken the search one step further. I bookstore shopped on-line. I took a stab at a bookstore located close to where I will be, sent an inquiring email, and what do you know? In short order, a very nice reply came with a couple suggestions with comments.

We exchanged emails and I will have a book waiting for me upon my arrival. It is published locally, too. No advance payment needed. They look forward to meeting me. They also serve coffee.

In the case of the wait in the car book, I am glad I finished it. I’m glad I finished it because I know there is one literary style I will not be emulating should I ever write a book.