Wherefore Art Thou, Book of my Dreams?

Have you ever really wanted a book of some sort so much that you started to fantasize about owning it? I don’t mean like owning it part-time, taking it out of the library then returning it. I mean like a book you just have to own.

I have, and it’s strange, because I don’t really want to own a lot of books. Most books I read and give away, if I own them. Yes, even cookbooks. Because the ones that are pretty, really pretty – are mostly just that – only really pretty. Ultimately they are boring. And the ones that talk of one thing or another – or perhaps they have stories in them – unless there is something startlingly exceptional I really don’t want to have to have those books staring at me accusingly from my shelves as I once again run my fingers right past their spines when looking for inspiration or entertainment.

But this one book, I really want right now. It’s not available in the US as far as I know. And since it takes every bit of all my energy and resources to sit right here at home taking care of the usual things of children and life, I’m not about to hop on a plane to Paris to get this book.

But I have had a fantasy about getting the book delivered. And I assure you, this fantasy surpasses by far any fantasy a girl is supposed to have about her wedding. My fantasies about weddings mostly go as far as seeing the cake and wondering what it tastes like. Rather compressed, this wedding fantasy. Oh well.

But my book. Now that’s a different matter. This is how it would happen: I’d be sitting in my kitchen writing on my computer. I can see out the window next to me as I do this. The mailman would appear around the corner, spindle-shanked in his shorts and socks and sandals. My mailman I am sure listens to NPR in his spare time. He is of medium height, has curly dark brown hair and round wire-rimmed glasses and he looks as if he frequents the health-food store, worrying about things that people worry about who frequent the health-food store. But no, this is wrong. I can not have my book delivered by my mailman, for several reasons. One is that his shanks are too skinny. It worries me, his shanks. If they were lamb shanks sitting wrapped in a styrofoam tray wrapped in clear plastic at the grocery store I would not want to buy them.

Do you remember the song from the Sixties that had a phrase in the middle of it ‘Who wants to dance with the lady with the skinny laiiiigs?’ the guy mockingly sang out right in the middle of it, and boy, I’ll tell you at the age of five or six or seven that song made me feel quite discouraged. Apparently nobody wanted to dance with ladies with skinny legs, at all! And my legs were very skinny. I felt terrible.

But anyway. At least that now I have acheived a more Botticelli-like form I don’t have to worry about that anymore! At least now I can look at the Venus-Clamshell lady and closely analyze as much as one can do without a microscope exactly how rounded her tummy is and whether it is more or less rounded than mine, and how all this will affect my outlook on life.

So forget the mailman. My book will be delivered by the UPS guy. The big brown truck will pull up, and park. The UPS guy will hop out of the truck door and walk towards my door. Now I always get a little nervous when the UPS guy delivers anything because of one particular thing. Fact is, the guy is just about my height. And since I’m pretty short, this doesn’t happen too often. But when it does it can be a little weird, because guys whose eyes are pretty much on a level with mine have an unusual aura. At least they have an unusual aura with me, when their eyes meet mine, and this is what makes me nervous when I have to sign the UPS thingie. There is a strange energy emitting from the guy who is pretty much my height. He is looking at me, and as I have the ability to see parallel worlds that exist alongside this regular one every once in a while I know the parallel world that is existing here, coming from the short guys eyes out towards me.

In his parallel world, both he and I are in the same place at my door but in a flash he is no longer a UPS guy. In a startling instant his UPS uniform sort of rips off all by itself and he is dressed in a Tarzan outfit. He is King of the Jungle.

Trust me, I cut that parallel universe thing off right at that point. I don’t want to know any more about it.

But here he is, anyway, with my book. He greets me, does the parallel universe thing, I sign the UPS magical signing thing, and I have a cardboard box in my hand with ‘Amazon’ printed on it. Joy! Oh joy! My book is here!

The rest, dear reader, you must imagine. How I rip open the cardboard, lovingly caress the cover, gently turn then wildly flip through the pages, staggeringly thrilled at the entire thing!

I went through my shelves the other day, to see what books I’d kept through many travels, too many damp cellars, and much giving-away of books. Here’s the list:

Waverly Root – Food

Time-Life Series Cookbooks – Vienna’s Empire

Ellen Brown – Cooking with the New American Chefs

Lenotre’s Desserts and Pastries

Craig Claiborne – The New York Times International Cookbook

Judith Olney’s Entertainments

Witty and Colchie – Better Than Store Bought

Alan Davidson – North Atlantic Seafood

Evan Jones – American Food, The Gastronomic Story

Maria Polushkin Robbins – The Cook’s Quotation Book

Roget’s Pocket Thesaurus

One book short of a dozen, in this category! To have almost a dozen books of my dreams – this is good.

But I can still dream of yet another. Even if I do have to meet Tarzan’s eyes momentarily to get it.


9 thoughts on “Wherefore Art Thou, Book of my Dreams?

  1. We share the VIENNA, the Claiborne, the Lenotre, the Roget. Mine are scattered in shelves and piles and tables and rooms on two floors of the house, and are accompanied by far too many campadres, far too few.

    I see your mailman—ours is bluff and hearty and breaks out his pith helmet about this time of year. He is of rather much height, with shoulders and sturdy arms, and I always think of him as wearing a little quonset on his head. Sometimes he finishes the route and comes back for lunch, if we are eating on the patio.

    And I see the thin shanks, with tanning blonde fuzz aura sparkling in the sidewalk sun; I, too, would pass by the small lamblets of such proportions.

    Seeing the other dimension—I do not speak of that, lest another open here, but I wish you your tome, in your hands, and hours of languid shade to peruse and pursue.

    (I wished a wish very much like this—for the beautifully photographed Eighties edition of Martha Stewart’s WEDDINGS. I sat many an hour in a creaky-floored library, entranced by those lives whose whims were instant and outre’ and whose wedding decor had a Brigadoon-life of hours, required the labor of hundreds, and cost more than our house. Daughter Caro gave me a copy for our first anniversary, and a couple of years ago, I bought the last six copies on a remainder shelf, for $7.98 each.

    I send them as wedding gifts to people we know, but really don’t KNOW well enough to be invited to the wedding. Makes as much sense as most things I do).

    Godspeed to your book; may it soon arrive.

  2. Ha ha, pith helmet?!

    Funny, the Martha Stewart Weddings book story. I have mixed feelings about Martha. She sort of reminds me of the Jane Fonda type, all strong-voiced and firmly and endlessly exhorting one to do ‘something’ – whatever the something is. But impressive, nonetheless! 🙂

  3. Couldn’t you tell I was blushing when I admitted to it?

    I like her books as I like most decorating books, for the sense of NEAT. Not “Hey, KEWL!!” neat, but neat as in clean surfaces—no socks or power tools or orange peels or toys on every available tabletop and chair and shelf.

    The sense of order and muted colors and shipshape appeal to me. I’d probably get just as much therapy from buying a completely blank journal and never filling it in, just opening it to gaze in at the still smooth CLEAN of it.

    The empty pages stretching on, to the horizon . . .like lungsful of icy snow-air.

  4. Having books is good. Knowing books are on the way also is good.

    I was fifteen when I discovered that I could order favorite books by mail. The thrill isn’t quite as intense now, but it’s still there.

    It’s good that you know your books is in Paris, so you don’t have to traipse off to Cape Town, Yokohama, and Novosibirsk looking for a copy.

    [ Was going to write more, but I think I’ve got an essay idea now … thanks! ]

  5. Novosibirsk sounds thrilling, Bob.

    Let me know what happens with the essay idea!

    Rachel. Well, what can one say about Martha. Bless her heart. 🙂

  6. Having just read this, while still in bed and drinking coffee, I can assure you that I will have shanks, Tarzan, and mail deliverers on my mind the rest of the day. And yes, I agree, there is something about seeing eye to eye with a man, for reasons of stature and not intellect or spirit or even humor, C.R.E.E.P.Y.!!!! 🙂

  7. Yet I’ve known men close to my height who have been the most boon companions! Funny, smart, pushy in nice ways . . .

    It could actually make some things easier.

    I mean, like, table and chair heights and stuff.

    Maybe this thing is a leftover from days of wishing to be possessed and led? Overwhelmed by the obvious superiority of it all? A taller head makes for safety and the assurance that everything will Be All Right?

    Maybe, we should want to be the taller ones. 😀

  8. But no, forget I said that. The times I’ve been taller in stature in ways though not height than the men I was with they really didn’t like it at all.

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