Friday, December 31, 2010

Adios 2010

"New Year's Eve, where auld acquaintences be forgot. Unless, of course, those tests come back positive."

~Jay Leno
Here's hoping for a new and improved year, with all things positive (well, almost all things) in 2011.
Happy New Year, friends!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird's Patience

Living 29 miles from work, my morning drive takes about 45 minutes. Hitting the road at 6:30 am before traffic gets too crazy, I listen to talk radio, sip my Starbucks and plan my day. Awake and alert, my morning drive is actually a pleasant time.
Oh, but the drive home is another story. By 4:30 pm I'm tired, frazzled, and dreading the return journey, which varies between 90 minutes to two hours. Made all the more stressful thanks to the ten billion bottlenecked cars that surround me, chauffeured by imbeciles who think nothing of cutting others off, flipping fingers, running red lights, tailgating and honk-honk-honking if you take more than three seconds to hit the gas pedal when the light turns green.
And all to the lovely serenade of cookie-cutter radio stations playing the same songs over and over. How many times, I've wondered, can one suffer through Under Pressure or Listen to the Music without experiencing the same torturous results as waterboarding?
I didn't want to find out, which is why I decided to try audio books. Maybe listening to a good mystery or an old classic would make the drive home a little more bearable. I'd start with "To Kill a Mockingbird," read by Sissy Spacek as the novel's narrator, Scout. I'd never read the book before nor seen the movie. Finally, I would find out what all the accolades were about.
In no time I was hooked, eagerly anticipating the drive home so I could hear more about 8-year old Scout, her older brother Jem, and their moral father, Atticus Finch; the mysterious Boo Radley, the deranged Bob Ewell and the persecuted Tom Robinson. It was a captivating story indeed, a book worthy of praise. All of a sudden, I didn't mind the manic drivers around me. Go on ahead, I'd wave 'em on through. More time for me to enjoy the book!
Finally, two weeks and almost eleven CDs later, I was nearing the end. I couldn't wait!
It was a pitch black night as Scout and Jem crossed an empty field on their way home. The moon was hidden by clouds and they couldn't see as far as the noses on their faces when suddenly...what was that? The children heard a rustling sound behind them, and then footsteps. Something...or someone...was following them in the dark.
Riveted, I turned up the volume.
"Run Scout, run!" Jem cried and we started running blindly in the dark," Sissy Spacek read. "Then I heard Jem fall and cry out in pain! I fell too, and sooommmmmttthhggggg ggtbbb my leg aaanddddd I scccreamrmmmmm and dddddzzzzzzzzzppphhh...."
What the heck? Was Scout having convulsions? And then I realized....oh gawd, no.
The CD was skipping.
I took it out and saw a scratch. Blew on it. Wiped it. Heck, I was desperate. Tried not to think what cooties might be on the disk and licked it. Dried it, said a prayer and stuck it back in the player. "Ooooouuuuccchhhh I criiiieeeed beeffooooreeee passssnngnnnnggggooouutt...."
Aarrgghh! The CD was obviously shot. To learn how the story ended, I'd have to read the book. Which I wouldn't mind purchasing actually, since I'd already decided to add this wonderful novel to my library. Still, the timing of the scratch couldn't have been worse. How did the story end, I wondered? Was Jem killed? And what about Scout? I'd have to wait to find out. Sigh....
And so, reluctantly, I turned on the radio. And what was playing? But of course.
Under Pressure.
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