At the Walmart on Kelly Johnson Parkway yesterday with my family (The one overlooking Six Flags Magic Mountain), picking up a few things for lunch and dinner during the week, I reached the aisle that had canned tuna, and found the pouches that Starkist sells, including chunk light tuna salad, with water chestnuts and dill relish, among other ingredients. I bought one of these from Target two weeks ago, liked it, and wanted it again, especially since it was cheaper here.
Last night, toward 11 p.m., when the house was settling in for the night, Dad and Mom in their bedroom, Meridith in hers finishing Devoted by Hillary Duff (She's been a fan since Lizzie McGuire, and owns Elixir too), and me in the living room on the computer, I went to the fridge to get some water and looked at the pouch which was laying on top of four of the Yoplait Greek yogurts I had also gotten. I looked at the bottom of the pouch on the front, which has the only discernible copy anywhere on it: "Delicious, Fresh Taste & Ready to Enjoy." It is delicious, it tastes fresher than when my dad glops mounds of mayonnaise in the tuna salad he makes, and I would probably enjoy it again at lunch again today (I did). I liked that sentence because of its self-confidence, so sure of itself, as all products have to be when they're on the shelves. There has to be something to capture the attention of shoppers. For me, it was just that it was chunk light tuna mixed in with other ingredients without having to do all the work. And I'd never thought of water chestnuts in a tuna salad, but it works. It gives it a firmer texture.
That sentence also applied to me a little after 1 in the morning. For the past few months, I've always been on the computer until a little after 2 a.m. or about 20 minutes before 3. I don't do a great deal on it that furthers my life, at least in my pursuit of being published again before I turn 30, which is why I'm glad I'm still 27. I'm a lazy writer, but not so lazy to not realize that the next two years will not wait. I'm aware, and am reading a few books that focus on 1930s Hollywood history to see what has been done and where I want to go with my book.
I decided that I'd had enough on the computer before midnight. I love the web comic Unshelved because it takes place in a library, among patrons and librarians (http://www.unshelved.com/), but there's only so much of its archive I can read in one sitting, since I'm on May 16, 2004 all the way from Saturday, February 16, 2002 (It's posted seven days a week). And I had read the Sally Forth and Rose is Rose comics for Monday, so there was nothing else, no reason for me to stay on any longer, not even to seek out more music for my desert soundtrack. It's a better pursuit during the evening.
Last week's episode of Hart of Dixie was still on the TiVo, and I went for that, laying on the couch and watching about 20 minutes' worth before I decided to delete it. I like the concept, about Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), a New York doctor who has moved to Bluebell, Alabama to take over the practice of a deceased man that she finds out was her father. It's Hollywood's view of the South, so I can live with that, but where is the charming, spirited show I found in the pilot? I think it left with Nancy Travis, who went on to Last Man Standing with Tim Allen after the second episode. Travis was the heart and soul of the show. She gave it honesty, and a slight, but warm edge that was a wonderful counterpoint to the miscast Tim Matheson as the owner of the other half of the practice who wants to push out Zoe and have the entire practice to himself. He was much better as Vice President Hoynes on The West Wing. I'll give this week's episode a little bit of a chance, but I can't keep going on with this and wasting my time, still hoping that I get that show that I originally saw. It was fun fluff. Now it's just a chore.
PBS aired the Ed Sullivan Comedy Special during the evening, and I TiVo'd it, so I watched about 20 minutes of Jackie Mason, Rodney Dangerfield, Jack Benny, Flip Wilson, and Moms Mabley, and had a much better time. Then I decided that it would be an interesting change to get to my room before 2 a.m., and I did. But I didn't feel like continuing Cold Souls or The Glass Menagerie, starring John Malkovich, one of my favorite actors. I just wanted to read, uninterrupted, and it was the perfect chance.
I had brought The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry with me into Walmart to read while Mom stopped to look in the cosmetics section and in pharmacy and in other parts of Walmart before we reached the food aisles to get what we needed for the week. Didn't happen. The Sunday crowd was in every aisle, and I heard one guy, probably two years older than me, say to another guy, "Walmart is always an epic adventure." I want to go to whatever Walmart he's been to. Here, it's just necessity shopping, and the bargain book selection, except for the hardcover edition of Just After Sunset by Stephen King which I picked up at the Walmart Supercenter on Carl Boyer Drive, is reliably disappointing.
In my room, in that middle-of-the-night silence, I wanted to read as much of The Kitchen Daughter as I could, continuing from page 151. For me, part of the appeal of The Kitchen Daughter is that it involves details of food, and cooking. And I was completely inside the story, in that kitchen with Ginny, the main character. When I got to page 202, I saw that it was 2:51. I didn't care. I wanted to finish this. The end came at page 272, and it was 3:30. I didn't worry about it being so late, because lately, I've always gotten up at about 10:15, no matter if I go to bed at 2:20 or 3:30. I didn't think about the day to come. I only thought about having been inside this novel, having completely disappeared into the words, drinking it all up and wanting more and more and more and more. I felt totally refreshed, smiling as big as the world can make smiles. And I want to do it again. And I will. If I don't finish Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey by Linda Greenhouse by late tonight, my reading will likely have a different effect, one of intense concentration, since I'm still learning everything I can find about the Supreme Court. But there will still be joy, still deep satisfaction in uninterrupted reading time. In that time, I am the only one in the world, and I can travel wherever I want.
Delicious? Yes! Fresh taste? Always! Ready to enjoy? All the time!
(Addendum at 4:27 p.m.: Upon reflection in the shower (What better place to think?), my feelings about my middle-of-the-night reading are best expressed in one of the choruses of Major Tom (Coming Home) by Peter Schilling, my favorite song:
"Earth below us; drifting, falling
Floating, weightless; coming home.")