I Read So That I Don’t Die
…One of my bookshelves sags. Another bookshelf teeters. The books that don’t fit on the shelves are in my closet, where normal people might keep sweaters. Buying (and reading) books for me is more than a habit; it’s an almost financially ruinous compulsion. But I like to think that it keeps me sane; at least, I don’t want to know what my life would be without books.
If you meet me, you might think I’m anxious and slow to focus (you’d be correct). You might notice how I chew my fingernails when I’m nervous and how I continuously turn over any object near at hand when I’m bored. You might think I don’t have the attention span for books. Look, a tiny child running through the library! Outside the window is a park and spring’s greenest grass and this spaniel mutt with a little brown on the ears and, ho! overhead the rotors of a helicopter cut the air as the sound of its motor splinters the manufactured stillness of a library.
But books, my dears, books are a soundproof room and half a Xanax and a chair, a comfortable chair that’s not too soft. To someone who doesn’t understand books like we do, books are a fine story, maybe an afternoon escape, a nice place to visit but nowhere that they’d want to live (I stole this image from a book, but I don’t remember which). But you and I know differently. I’ve seen you on the Halsted bus, the UP-North Metra, on a blanket in Humboldt Park indifferent to the smells of barbeque and the hum of families, you the book sniffers, the book gropers, you are reading and you look so heartbreakingly perfect that for a moment I’m in love with you…
What the hell are these people doing? I’m sorry, but a 50-year-old Asian man wearing a Paul Smith suit, a denim jacket, a mink stole, a Louis Vuitton backpack, Air Force Ones, and shutter shades — WHERE IS HE GOING? Does he work at an accounting firm run by Kanye West and a 10-year-old girl? Is he late for an appointment with Willy Wonka at the World Bank? Seriously, this man had one thing and one thing alone on his agenda that day: Stand awkwardly on the corner of the street, smoke a cigarette, and wait for people to come take his picture."
Chelsea Fagan, Thought Catalog on Street Fashion Photography.
I just died.