A Reading Life

ritaA few days ago, I got a fabulous hair cut. I went into a new hair place, declared a state of emergency over the state of my locks, and submitted to an emergency cut and color.  Thirty minutes later, I emerged like a butterfly emerges from a cocoon after starting out as a worm. I loved myself, even it was for only 5 or 10 minutes, when like most women, I went back to my silent self-loathing.

One of the things I love about life in the US after almost a decade in Honduras is the immediacy of things. In the capital of Honduras, even with a carefully planned appointment, I would have waited for an indefinite period of time for the hair stylist to take me. Nor would the appointment be short.

I don’t know why except perhaps maybe they use older techniques and dyes, but hair color takes a long time in Honduras. I usually was there close to 2 hours. I always brought something to read on my Kindle.

In fact, reading and waiting filled up lots of time when I lived in Honduras. Five minute oil change? That’s a joke. It’s best to leave the truck for the day. Eight hours is critical for an oil change in a developing country. There’s just too many things that can happen in the day of a mechanic. Wheels falling off, axles breaking, and such. Mechanics lead daring and adventuresome lives there, often riding to the scene of ailing vehicles.

Now, here’s my point.What if we turned the phrase around from reading and waiting, to waiting and reading?

Or, better, yet,  Waiting to Read. That’s where I am headed on this post. I knew of someone who waited to learn to read for over twenty years. When she learned, she surprised us all. Her life changed dramatically through a simple act of kindness from a teacher at the local school who taught her how to read.

It’s hard to imagine life if I didn’t read. I devour books. I used to like books more than people, and sometimes, I have to resist the urge to return to that order, books over people. After all, books take me places I want to go instantly, and of course, books certainly have better manners than most people.

If you want to hear more about the adventure of an illiterate friend who jumped into books with abandon, then visit A Gumbo Pot tomorrow. If my friend waited over twenty years to decipher a book, then you can wait twenty-four hours for the rest of the story. I know that most Americans don’t like waiting, but I’m sorry. Hasta mañana. See you tomorrow. 

11 thoughts on “A Reading Life

  1. John, I lived in Mexico, albeit only a year. Mexico and Honduras are similar but not the same in regard to something like waiting. Mexico is supersonic compared to its poor and violent cousin to the south.


  2. I looked like Rita for one day. I can’t style my hair as well as the girl at the hair salon. I have more books than friends, I grant you that. However, I like people more. They can laugh, eat, drink and share life with me. Dogs? My dog might be better than people. And books. I will think on that one.


  3. I went back to my silent self-loathing. I have a hard time with that concept about you. I do, I do, I do. I’m not a believer in your faith as far as something I would adopt as my faith but I believe in you and what you do. We all have short comings and regrets but one has to love one self first before they can love others. And I think you do love others so put that self loathing in the trash can where it belongs.


    1. Norm, I have fought a hard battle against low self esteem most of my life, with short periods of breezy optimism punctuating an otherwise secret self-hatred. I am working on throwing that stuff in the trash and not retrieving it ever again. Thanks.


      1. A bit of Lithium in your diet might level out your self esteem. It does not take much but it helps many with the blues. It saved my wife’s mother’s life over 30 years ago. Lithium is an element.


      2. My second father-in-law was a schizophrenic most of his adult life, spending lots of time in mental institutions. He finally leveled out a bit with lithium before he died.


  4. I tried lithium after being diagnosed as bipolar over 20 years ago. My body won’t tolerate it. I either take lithium even extended or low dose and live in the bathroom or take an alternative. I take depakote and prozac at very low levels. I was raised by a very narcisstic mother who had little interest in having rivals. I was deliberately kept in unflattering clothes and she regularly took me to a barber who took off most of my hair. I do my best considering my genetics and environment. I seldom have deep depressions but I do live with malingering ideas about my lack of physical attractiveness.


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