This morning I went to see Esther, who is back in NYC after her cosmonaut adventure. As always, lovely to chat with her!
On my way home I stopped at The Strand bookstore to try to find a cheap used Russian phrasebook. In hindsight, I realize that I’m kinda a moron for thinking I could actually leave a bookstore without buying anything (they didn’t have the phrasebook). I am not a shopper or a buyer of superfluous things, but I am a pathological buyer (and reader!) of books. In this case, Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (For the long Trans-Siberian trip! I convinced myself). In typical fashion, on my upcoming expedition my luggage will consist of 10 lbs of clothes and toiletries and 15 lbs of books. My back aches in anticipation.
None of this is particularly out of the ordinary. But while perusing the charmingly disorganized 18 miles of books, I suddenly realized that I NEED MORE TIME before I go: I want to read them all – all the Dickens and Bowles and Dostoevsky and everything else that I should have read by now and haven’t. I wanted the rhyming dictionary. And the colorful guide to the world’s subway systems. WHY HAVEN’T I READ THE RUSSIAN POETS YET? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?
Stricken with panic, I averted my eyes from the shelves and tables and made for the checkout counter.
Just another existential panic attack to endure before I leave!