I finished Coraline a few minutes ago. It occurred to me, as the last spoonful slid down the hatch, that I should have been reading as I ate. I should have been digesting the words as I digested the words, so to speak. From now on, I'll be taking half an hour's reading time before breakfast and dinner. If there aren't any leftovers after dinner, I'll take another half hour to read the following day's lunch. On Sundays, I can feast on words all morning, and on paper all afternoon.
Speaking of mornings, I almost dozed through the alarm clock today. I slept heavily, but if I dreamed, I don't remember it. My head hit the pillow, and then the clock was buzzing. Nothing in between. It was a little disorienting. It was only six-thirty, but I felt like I'd overslept. All day long, I found myself playing catch-up, although I was not behind. I shaved in the shower, and buttoned my cuffs on the way downstairs. Instead of breakfasting at the kitchen table, I folded nine milk-soaked pages into a bun, added a slice of ham, and ate it in the car. Of all my book meals to date, I'd count that one the worst. The paper was too thick to chew properly, and kept getting stuck in my teeth. To make matters worse, the various tastes of milk, basement, bread, and ham had combined to produce something truly revolting. I was tempted to throw in the towel till later, but I didn't think several hours in the office fridge would improve matters any.
My lunchtime sandwich was much better. I might even have enjoyed it, had the breakfast one not upset my stomach. I got the whole thing down, but it refused to sit comfortably. Twenty gut-churning minutes later, I was forced to chase it with two caps of Pepto and a non-drowsy Dramamine (which isn't as non-drowsy as the label would have you believe). Then, I realized I'd forgotten my toothbrush. By the time I got home, the Pepto had furred my tongue black, and my mouth tasted like an old shoe.
In spite of having arrived nearly an hour early, I stayed forty-five minutes late at work. The Dramamine had done a number on my head, and I wanted to let it wear off before getting behind the wheel. I felt sluggish, even beyond my usual Saturday-afternoon loginess. There wasn't much for me to do, which didn't help. I kept catching myself staring out the window, staring at the monitor, staring at people crossing the quadrangle below. In the men's room, overcome by a powerful wave of laziness, I went in the stall to do something I could have done at a urinal. I didn't feel stoned, exactly, but my performance was distinctly subpar.
By the time I made it home, the nausea had worn off, and the Dramamine had reached what could only be described as a hangover stage. I felt a little like I had on the first night of my book diet. My bones thrummed with restlessness, and my nostrils were dry and itchy. I distracted myself with dinner preparations. If you ever need a recipe for book soup, you could do worse than mine.
+ The spine of 1 book, pages and cover mostly removed
+ 1/2 can chicken or beef stock
+ 1 cup lentils
+ 1 pinch ea. basil, oregano, salt, and pepper
+ 1 cup chopped ham
+ 1/4 cup chopped soft-fried bacon
+ 1 pot H2O
Bring water, lentils, stock, book, and spices to a boil in the pot, then simmer for 1-2 hours, or until spine is soft and juicy. Add ham and bacon. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with crackers and sour cream, and chives if you've got them.
This was the first book meal I've genuinely relished. I couldn't taste a single spider or dustbunny. The texture was on the mediocre side (neither appealing nor appalling), but it felt warm and soothing going down. It was a nice end to what had been a rather painful culinary day.
I've decided it's okay for me to enjoy my books. I think Neil Gaiman would want it that way, especially now that I'll be appreciating their literary merits as well as their flavor.