Thursday, February 24, 2011

Green Bay

I've been near Ft. Lauderdale, FL since Tuesday at yet another meeting. This one is going rather well though I could be more attentive. Originally, they were going to hold the meeting in Green Bay. In February. Luckily, someone figured out that it wasn't a good idea and here we are—stuck inside windowless hotel conference rooms in lovely 80 degree weather. Oh well!

I have got myself in something of a bind due to committing to do a ton of reading, much of it not for work. The work reading isn't optional but that doesn't meant I do it either. I am a bad reader. I read constantly, actually, mostly blogs and online things. I even read at home in between tv and knitting. I'm usually sitting there with the computer propped open, knitting on my lap and the tv on in the background. Sometimes I admonish myself to actually pay attention to what is on the video screen. What is the point of paying for Netflix if I'm not actually going to watch anything? Well, the point is companionability. It's too damn quiet to just sit and read at home. I've never been able to do it—even when I'm reading fiction I love, I need some background noise.

So, how in the world am I going to get through all the academic style reading I've promised? On Monday, I went to the office even though it was a holiday. I'd been sick-ish most of last week and work had just piled up. I'd say I did several days worth of tasks in about 5 hours. I would have gotten more done if my computer weren't so damn slow. After leaving, I went straight to the coffee shop. That was the key. In college, I spent many hours every day in the same coffee shop. However, I don't think I did much studying there—why will it work now when I didn't work then? Because I have no friends at this coffee shop. Also, I drink coffee now and I didn't then.

I did read in grad school but it's still shocking to me how little. How much I disliked it and yet that I managed to finish. The most concentrated academic reading I did was when I studied for my first comprehensive exam. I was back in Seattle for a big chunk of the summer and I went almost daily to the UW campus and sat in the graduate reading room and read articles. I also snuck into the computer lab to check my email…and send messages to the guy I'd met right before I left for Seattle and who I started dating on my return (but not for long). So, even then, who knows who much reading I got done. Enough to pass the comp at least.

I remember in college taking a class where all the reading was fiction. Maybe some of it was challenging but I didn't find it so—I loved every word of every book we read in that class. One day, I was standing in the hall outside the professor's office, waiting along with another student to see him. The student, who was quite handsome, who I'd been crushing on from afar all quarter, actually spoke to me—exciting! He said something about not doing the reading—implying that it was impossible and that no one in the class would ever do the reading. I was stunned! Shocked! And replied that I liked the books and had read them…I don't remember the rest of the conversation. I was embarrassed to admit that I had done the reading and I was disappointed that he hadn't. I don't think my crush actually died but it was much lessened. All for the good, no doubt.

At any rate, that is my plan. In the evenings, on the weekends, on my telework day, I will go to the coffee shop. I'll become a regular. Maybe I will make coffee shop friends. And I will get my reading done.

Grateful for: reading.

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