Sunday, January 15, 2006

Worst. Book. Ever.

It's been a fairly disappointing evening, though I suppose, not unexpectedly so. I was given great promises by my roommates that Saturday would be the Night We Finally All Go Somewhere, as C would be returning home from a week-long work trip, the Redskins would be playing, so one way or another, J would have a reason to drink heavily, and I've become bored with our weekends on the couch searching for some NeXt or DeGrassi marathon. Of course, C & J, now having dated for a full six months, with no reason to interact with anyone outside their own embrace who doesn't contribute to the rent, and C being a man unlikely to interact with anyone on his most single of days, the two lovebirds disappeared into their room sometime around 10pm, never to be heard from again. Sigh. I had even done my hair.

I should have just made alternate plans with a friend who I knew was already out on the town, but by the time I realized my roommates were MIA, I was just tired and annoyed, so I popped in a movie (October Sky...a great movie made all the greater by Jakey-poo's recent famousness) and then settled on a book, because I was too wired off Coca-Cola Zero's to sleep. This book I now speak of has earned the title, from me, of Worst. Book. Ever. Known to some as, The Pilot's Wife.

Let's go back for a minute. Way back, to the fall of 2005. C and I had just moved into our new place on U Street, and we were now looking at a house full-to-the-brim of boxes and boxes of things with no storage space to speak of. Some of the boxes could live peacefully in the rooms in which they would one day be unpacked, but some of them were full of stuff we planned to donate or store in our backyard shed, as soon as the owners gave us the key. There was no way we could place furniture or begin to unpack until some of this stuff was moved out of the house, like one of those puzzles where you shift the small squares around the finite-sized bigger square until you make a coherent picture, except we were missing the empty square, the space-holder needed so you can do the shifting. So things had to be put in the backyard. About a week into the unpacking there was a heavy rain, but we assumed that everything in the backyard was 1) trash or 2) inside plastic bins.


A couple months later when we finally got the District of Columbia to start picking up our trash, we went out back to haul everything through the house to our brand-new bins on the sidewalk. C then realized that he had left boxes of books outside, books that were now soaking wet and starting to mold. He didn't really care, because he was planning on giving them to goodwill, but I took him to town for not offering them to me first. I'm kind of a book freak, and will often take anything I can get my hands on. I went through a big box of novels, hoping to find something that hadn't been reached by the rainfall, when I got near the bottom and pulled out The Pilot's Wife. A few of the other books were only slightly damp, but I've had bad experience with book mold before and know better than to put my own indoor books at risk by exposing them to possible contagian. They had to go. So I took my one, lone piece of treasure inside and took the rest of the box to the trash, killing a piece of my soul as the pages upon pages upon pages fell into the bin.

Little did I know that I should not only have tossed my one keepsake along in there with the rest of trash, but that I should have lit the whole damn bin on fire after I did so.

I remember that TPW was kind of popular a few years back, mostly because it was in Oprah's book club (that great bastion of good novels). I don't always go for the pop novel, since, like pop music, they usually involve shallow writing hidden by a good beat. On the other hand, I was convinced to read White Oleander a few years ago, and that's a damn fine book. I decided not to write off TPW just for that shame of being marketable, especially since the fates rescued it from a watery death (how ironic, given the plot set-up).

So what did I find inside? Well, you'll just have to wait 'til tomorrow...


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