It is said that turning a blind’s eye to a loved one’s addiction is the equivalent of enabling the behavior. While I’m sure that’s true, I nonetheless have no misgiving in absolving myself for any blame in the tale I’m about to share with you.
First, however, a negligible concession: I acknowledge the underlying cause/effect relationship in the food creations that my lovely wife conjures up in the kitchen, and my vigorous appetite to also consume them. It’s really a rather simple compact: she invents, and I eat.
Regardless, the amoeba-like growth of cookbooks taking over our home has absolutely nothing to do with me. I’ve neither encouraged nor discouraged this accumulation. Yet books seem to arrive at our door with regularity from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, eBay, Abe’s Books, etc.
If anything I blame our local public library for all of this.
“Heresy!,” I now hear many of you hissing out there in disapproval. Please, stay calm. Allow me to explain.
Regular readers of this blog will recall from posts during last year’s shutdown when I chronicled how Gorgeous acted forthrightly and fearlessly to crusade on behalf of the economy. As stores closed their doors, she made it a mission to help keep as many of them afloat with sustained online stimulus injections. Brands I had never even heard of (i.e. Penzeys) were suddenly appearing in our pantry to sit alongside the corn flakes. Some of you might possibly remember the large case of canned organic pumpkin from that same time period (cans of it still exist; look for a flash sale at some future date). Local FedEx and UPS delivery drivers even waved to us when we’d see them at traffic light intersections around town. We felt patriotic.
As things began to open up again, or as we in Florida like to rhetorically ask, “Pandemic? What Pandemic?,” we cheered when that also included our public library. For me, ever the thrifty retiree who takes great pride in not subscribing to either Netflix nor HBO, it meant I could again borrow DVDs of shows that everyone had talked about six to eight months prior. For Gorgeous, it was the chance to see what new cookbooks arrived.
This is where we’re each very different creatures. Where I see the library as a way of avoiding having to spend any of my own money, she views the place as a kind of influencer to help decide whether she wants to make a later purchase. My unscientific study of her growing cookbook collection concludes that at least 50% of it came from library books she borrowed. [An aside to publishers and public library branch managers: “You’re welcome.”]
I knew we had entered an uneasy new phase when she excitedly looked over a book after a recent visit to the library, and immediately decided to start shopping for a copy to have of her own. It was then that the online store she was visiting recognized that this would be her second purchase of the same title. Sure enough, a quick check of her own collection showed that the same book was happily sitting on a bookshelf in her office. That moment is memorialized in the picture at the top of this post, where Gorgeous is holding both her copy and the local library’s.
As I snapped additional photos with my phone of just her collection in her office (there are more in the kitchen), alert readers might see yet another instance of second duplicate book.
As a full disclosure, I should probably admit to having similar sins of my own. A quick perusal in my office closet discovers that I own duplicate vinyl and CD recordings of King Crimson’s “In The Court of the Crimson King,” Frank Sinatra’s “In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” Genesis’ “Three Sides Live,” Brian Eno’s “Before and After Science,” and one hardcover and softcover each of Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four.”
He who casts the first stone, after all. So what’s a few eccentricities between friends?
So many of us have had to metaphorically put our passions on steroids over the last year in order to get through all that time staying at home. Whether it’s binge-watching, cooking, collecting, or some other new or rediscovered pastime, it’s all been about finding a way to wait-out that return to “normal.” The pre-covid passions have been kept on ice, but hopefully all of that is about to change; at least incrementally anyway because of those stubborn variants.
Both of us have received our second vaccine shots. While we’re still avoiding restaurants for now, we are contemplating a return to our gym as early as next week. We recently ran into a woman in the grocery store whom we know from the gym, and she gave us reassurances about her own experiences there lately. Mandated mask rules and distancing between machines seems to be accepted and followed. So returning to that routine will be something we can’t wait to restart.
As for Gorgeous and her cookbook addiction? I forced her to attend a 12-step program designed by yours truly…
Until next time…