This is an actual conversation I had today while walking into the shop to buy beer.
TEENAGE GIRL WHO HAD BEEN HIDING ROUND THE CORNER: "Would you go into the shop for me, please?"
TGWHBHRTC: "Because why?"
ME: "Because a lot of reasons, really. I can think of legal, sociological and philosophical reasons not to buy booze for you. Do you really want a lecture?"
TGWHBHRTC: (After a long pause) "No."
The child bride and I Saturday took a pleasant bus ride up to Talbot Green. It's a little village about 7 miles north of where we live that would almost certainly have gone completely unnoticed were it not for the fact that there's a Borders book shop there. There is a Waterstones in Cardiff's city centre, which would have been easier and cheaper to get to (the bus to Talbot Green cost us £8.60), but it doesn't have a romance section. No romance section means no visits from the child bride -- she reads at least one romance a week. They are her guilty pleasure, I suppose. Whereas some people indulge in alcohol or cigarettes or silly languages, she is goofy for poorly written and predictable narrative*.
Bookstores, I have found, depress me -- especially large ones. I found myself wandering past shelf after shelf after shelf of authors I have never heard of and two things always come to mind:
1) I am really not all that bright, that there are so many authors I've never heard of and so many books I haven't read.
2) It seems unlikely that I will ever see a book written by me on one of those shelves. There are just so many authors, so many books; the whole thing seems saturated and I can't see how I'll ever be able to get myself in the mix. And if I ever do, I can't see how I'll ever accomplish anything with it.
Nonetheless, I am back at work, finally, on the sixth version of the novel I've been working on for several years. Even though I have lost faith in its ever being published, there is this part of me that feels the need to make it as good as possible.
At the Borders, I bought "Captain Alatriste," by Aruro Pérez-Reverte. Yeah, i had never heard of him, either. I bought the book because it has a Spanish bloke on the cover looking all swashbuckling. Yes, I am the sort of person who judges books on cover art; yes, I know this makes me a clod.
Anyway, I burned through the book, finishing it early Sunday evening. When I finished reading it, I thought: "Gee, I'll bet that would make an OK film." And apparently I'm not the only one -- the film is set to be released later this year.
Having been here for only a month, I have only been able to develop two broad generalizations about the Welsh, but here they are:
1) In general, women here have larger breasts. If you are a breast man, Cymru is the place to be.
2) In general, teenagers and young people who speak Welsh are better behaved than their English-only speaking counterparts.
On Friday I suddenly realised that the NFL pre-season is under way. I got a real sense of hiraeth (homesickness) over the fact that I am not back in Minnesota to witness what will likely be one of the shittiest Vikings seasons in recent memory. Old and busted Brad Johnson is our starter, and the second-stringer looked so crappy in Saturday's game against the Steelers that people are pinning their hopes on the third-string. Oodashitty!
I really wish I could be there with Eric and Gronert and Bryce to watch the games and revel in the overwhelming sucktitude. No, really, I actually do. It's going to be weird not following the NFL season.
I will try to develop interest in Premiership (Portsmouth is ranked No. 3 in the league**, baby!), but it just won't be the same. For one thing, I don't have a TV, so I can't watch any of the matches.
*Suddenly the fact that she thinks I'm a good writer doesn't mean quite as much.
**After only one match