Friday, April 11, 2008

Home Alone

It's Friday evening, and I'm home alone.

My wife is a page designer at a local newspaper and works Friday evenings from time to time. In the past, I would hook up with my neighbor across the street and we'd sample a tavern in town. But he's been involved in a marital squabble, and he hasn't been around much over the past several months. I have been known to go out on my own every now and then – a blend of curiosity what stranger I nay run into, what stories I may hear and boredom of sitting around at home.

But even that gets old fast, and I've always felt a little uncomfortable sitting someplace by myself. So, that's been going more by the boards.

That leaves home alone, or more specifically, home with Hviezda, the Irish setter from Slovakia. Hviezda, all of 13 now, tends to sleep the hours away; she no longer fancies a good wrestle on the carpet. I may succeed in riling her up, but she'll spark to life for a few minutes, and then she'll sit or lie, her signal that playtime with daddy is over, and it's nap time again.

Old maid dog.

So, it quickly becomes me and the house. I've tried lately to keep the television off, which I'm ashamed to admit is hard to do; I really don't watch much TV, but I find myself invariably sucked into it when Michelle is gone, and my lazy, unimaginative self takes over. My only defense is I don't watch trash TV. No reality shows, no celebs in rehab, love triangles (quadrangles anyone?), or other strata of debauchery. No sitcoms or dramas, either. OK, there's sports, and I list toward watching a lot of that. Or, I'll surf the cable for a movie. Pretty innocuous stuff, I tell myself. But it could be more productive.

I could read, for example. I read a lot as it is. I read a lot of science stuff at work. Science stories in newspapers and magazines. Science in peer-reviewed publications. Professors' research papers. Etc. A lot of sense stuff. Much of it interesting, yes; educational, certainly. Yet it means a lot of reading, and sometimes when I get home, I just can't summon the intellectual energy to read.

What that means is I am way behind on reading all the newspapers and magazines we do get and feeling more and more guilty about it. We get (in no order of preference) the New Yorker, National Geographic, Runner's World, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, Orion, Rhode Island Monthly, Taste of Home, Garden Gate, Better Homes & Gardens, Vanity Fair, alumni magazines from Iowa State, Duke and Columbia and our local newspaper. Phew! That's whole lot of print material.

I have been considering subscribing to the Economist and the Washington Post weekly edition. A professor has gotten me intrigued with getting the International Herald Tribune, too.

That's just too much, isn't it?

Hence my dilemma and my guilt. I can't keep up. We have a small, square bin in the living room in which we stash our reading. It ebbs from nearly bursting with paper to overflowing. Low tide in the bin there ain't. And as the paper pile grows, so grows my angst.

I can't read this post. Get me the remote.

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