It was — literally — a small thing that I wanted, but my entire family gaped at me in horror, as if I had brightly announced,
“I think I’ll sell my body on the streets to pick up a little pin money.”
“I can’t believe you’re serious,” was the general consensus.
“Where are your values?” the Son and Heir challenged.
Even the Norwegian Artist looked shocked.
Before you join them, relax. My knees are not designed for short skirts, and when I clomp around in heels I look and sound like a rhinoceros in a thong.
All I coveted was a Kindle e-reader, which, in this family of voracious literary fanatics who run their fingers over high gloss pages, murmuring, “This is typeset in Calisto 12-point with one-inch side margins on heavy weight, high gloss cotton stock. You can smell the quality emanating from the tome,” went over with thundering thump of censorious opprobrium.
“I’m shocked,” commented Tired of Being Youngest, looking up from whatever it is that she does all day on her Ipod.
Eldest Supreme tore away from Facebook on her phone long enough to add her DisLike button.
“Y R giving in 2 the electronic world” College Girl texted.
The Norwegian Artist, who is old enough to remember, and have read, Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 and George Orwell’s 1984, looked concerned, an expression similar to the one he wears as he trolls through the library’s audio books section in search of the next volume he will download to listen to while he’s painting.
What is the problem with these people?
Every Sunday — when the library is closed along with the rest of the village — I find myself book-free, having stayed up late the night before to find out who-dun-it, so desperate for reading material that I scour the newspaper classifieds for “Animal Feed and Hay,” “Aircraft,” and “Appliances” (there’s a swamp cooler for $75; is that a good price?). I have not yet dropped so low that I pick up the sports section, but I do pore over the Wal-Mart and K-Mart ads, comparing sock prices.
I would seriously pity a person in this condition.
But pity doesn’t get you anywhere; action does, and on a day out to the Big Town with Tired of Being Youngest we stopped at a magic store, a Ben Franklin birthday bill in my pocket, and I bought the thing. Its arrival to the household was greeted with the same enthusiasm shown toward the abandoned, pregnant, stray gray kitty that someone dumped on our porch.
I don’t care. I don’t care. I spent an exhilarating afternoon learning my new toy, downloading an addictive game, and checking out as much free stuff as I could find. That next day — Sunday — I selected from four different novels, and the game, and I played and played and played.
And then I put the Kindle down, just for a moment, and didn’t see it for several hours.
Tired of Being Youngest had discovered the game.
The Son and Heir pored over The History of Ancient Numibian Culture (it was free!).
Toddler was over — dang if she isn’t taller, with a longer arm reach than I realized — and we all know what toddlers do when they see buttons. We also know what adults do when they see toddlers pushing buttons on expensive electronic items.
When the Norwegian Artist rescued the item from Toddler’s grasp he stopped to look at my home page. “Did you download any Zane Gray?” he asked.
That’s enough. It’s mine. And so is vengeance.
Kindle, you have kindled a fire in the quintessence of my concupiscent literary soul.