You Say You Want a Resolution
Over the past twelve months I’ve kept a list of every book I’d read in 2019. This was prompted by my membership in a Facebook group dedicated to books and reading. I was surprised and somewhat disappointed upon review that my total only amounted to 29 because I’m essentially retired and I’ve got the time to enjoy a tale well told. In my defense, I’m nearing the completion of the first draft of a new novel of my own. Just have to write the rest of the words down.
I remember sitting down with a friend of mine named Mike in a Tottenham Court Road pub late last September. He was months into his retirement. He said over a pint, “I thought I’d be spending my days reading books and listening to music, but I’ve been busy doing other things, anything and everything else, in fact. I don’t know how I managed when I was still working.”
Yesterday evening Ann and I sat down at the counter and flipped through the operating system of the Crooked 9, our kitchen wall calendar. Memorable times were flagged by departure and return dates. There were my minutiae, left-handed and angled: “first robin,” “first snow,” “furnace filter.” Most days of any particular week had time blocked off for appointments, events, invitations and social obligations – too many funerals.
And hadn’t the remaining hours in each day quietly filled themselves with household tasks, chores and projects, and errands? We read our newspapers and magazines. We browsed the internet and binged on long form television. We took walks and we took naps. And Ann and I always found time to talk about it all, anything and everything.
I spend a lot of time viewing the world through the lens of the window pane in our back door. I don’t believe thinking – pondering, wondering – is a waste of time. Things get done, written even, in a silent, neurological way. The other day Ann said, “This is a good spot, I just might take it over.” Stand in my footprints, one size fits us both. Ann usually gets her cogitating done in the wee, expanded hours of sleeplessness. Maybe I’ll take a few minutes and create a sort of time-share back door window schedule for us. We can take shifts, punch the clock.
Contemplating the nature of my passing days, I realize that I’ve even enjoyed the time I’ve wasted. And that is a comforting conclusion to arrive at because at this stage of my life I know there are more days behind me than ahead. There are eight new books stacked on my night table. Should I be able to absorb and enjoy them at the rate of one per week, this impending new year suggests the promise and pleasure of 44 more just like them. Time permitting.