Wednesday, January 27, 2010

book club at my house (lyn)

Tonight I am hosting book club.  I agonize over what to serve, as it’s not really dinner, but some people come hungry and others eat before. I finally decide on the following, all bought yesterday at Costco:

I eat:
Pita bites
Tortilla chips (multigrain)
Fruit platter
Chicken salad from Costco’s rotisserie chicken

I skip:
Salsa peach dip
Cut up celery, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and red peppers
Chocolate chip cookies

I much prefer a meal, as the parameters are clear.  Munching is too dangerous.  I overestimate and assign myself 23.5 points just for dinner; 31 points for the day.  I’m allowed 18.  And tomorrow I have another potential munching disaster  --- an open-house cocktail party. 

As for the evening itself, everyone arrives by 8; we socialize for about an hour, discuss the book for 10 minutes, and then decide to watch Obama’s State of the Union address.

Tonight’s book is one I had previously chosen and no one really likes:  In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard.  I had read it in 1988 when it first came out.  It was published by Simon and Schuster, where I was working at the time.  It became one of my most-loved books, and Goddard became one of my most-loved authors.  I was excited to re-read it and fall in love all over again.  But unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.

I don’t know why.  Someone in the group suggests that whatever was going on in my life at the time must have influenced my feelings about the book.  I believe she’s right, so I try to reconstruct the basics of my life during that time, compared to today.   This is what I remember:

THEN:  I was living in NYC.
NOW:  I am living in NYC.

THEN:  I was in a job that held much promise-big office, big title, great boss-bored to tears every day.
NOW:  No job, no office, no boss, no income, but rarely bored.

THEN:  I felt dumpy at 135 pounds, and was at my highest weight ever (soon after I started working out, got in the best shape of my life, and lost 25 pounds in the process).
NOW:  I feel thin at 131.8 pounds, know I have to up the exercise portion, and hope I can lose another 10 pounds or so.

THEN:  My middle sister had been married for 13 years and my youngest sister got married in October;   I was in no meaningful relationship.
NOW:  My two sisters are still in the same great marriages and I am in no meaningful relationship.

THEN:  I worried constantly over money.  I was earning $78M a year and had credit card debt of $5M.
NOW:   I worry constantly over money.  I earn nothing, but have zero debt.  On my credit card, that is.  But college looms ahead.

THEN:  M was one of my closest friends. 
NOW:  M is one of my closest friends.

THEN:  I was 37 and feared growing old without a child.
NOW:  I am 58 and grateful every single day for having such a spectacular son.

I don’t really know what it was about my life in 1988 that may have influenced such positive feelings about the book.   Maybe the answer is a simple one.  My tastes have changed.    Just not in everything.  I mean, I still like "Sweet Child Of Mine," by Guns 'n' Roses, but think I’d not watch Murder She Wrote if It were on today.  Law and Order is just so much better.

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