Saturday, April 25, 2009

Damn, I've been outed...

Damn! Ricë outed me... Now ya'll know my dark secret: I will read anytime, anywhere.

Before I got to Texas, I lived in Dodge City, Kansas. I moved there from Madison, Wisconsin, which was a very hip a go go place. Dodge was not. A friend of mine at Dodge City Community College, where I worked, told me she wanted to introduce me to a couple of cool guys who were trying to start a public radio station, and one of them was Quentin Hope.

Quentin, and his friend, Malcolm, lived in Garden City, about 50 miles west of Dodge on US 50. I took the bus over to visit them for the weekend right after I met them. When I got there, Quentin was on the phone, hustling people about the radio station*. His apartment served as his office, too. There was a couch in the living room and tons of magazines and books. I think there was a current copy of In These Times, and about a hundred books. I just curled up on the couch, grabbed something and started reading. I don't know how long I read for, but at some point, I realized that Quentin was not on the phone anymore and I hadn't even said "Hello!" I jumped up, and started to apologize. Quentin told me not to; if you could sit and read in front of somebody, it meant you were comfortable with them. I knew we were going to be friends.

Actually, it was a funny thing, that. At Christmas, I went back to North Carolina to see my family. My brother Steve was there. I'd spent some time a couple years earlier in Yellow Springs, Ohio, working for Steve's Fly By Night Construction Company when I was in between jobs and traveling around the country. My brother introduced me to tai chi while I lived there, and I met a lot of his college friends (Antioch). They would talk about people from Antioch who'd gone on to other colleges and drink scotch and practice tai chi moves. (This has NOT changed. They are still wont to do that on occasion.)

So, at some point during Christmas week, when my family asked what I was up to, I told them about Quentin and Malcolm and the radio station, for which I was now designing logos. Steve looked up at me and said, "Quentin, Quentin HOPE?" and I said, well, yes, I thot that Hope was Quentin's last name. "I was at Antioch with Quentin Hope," Steve said... And then I remembered some discussion about some guy named Quentin who'd gone off to Oberlin, and, yah, sure, it was the same guy.

So when I got back to Kansas, I got to tell Quentin that I was Steve's little sister. Quentin hadn't thot of it because, although my brother and I have very common last names, they're not the same last name, 'cos he's really my step-brother.

A lot of what I read is magazines. I get both The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, and those, alone, can keep me busy. But, like Ricë, I read detective fiction for fun, along with fantasy and some science fiction. I read biography, history and science stuff, too, as well as how-to books. I don't read those in bed, though, because I always want to get up and try whatever they're writing about.

So. If you meet me, and I pull out a book and start reading, just assume that I'm really comfortable with you.

*BTW, the story has a happy ending. There IS public radio in western Kansas, and on the High Plains, thanks to Quentin and other folks who worked really hard for it.

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