Thursday, February 03, 2005

In Between Bookmarks and Dog-Ears

**Hope this explains something.

I have a confession to make.

The aroma of paper binded together would have to be one of my greatest highs. Next to mindless, unwarranted sex, two to three hours of uninhibited reading would have been my intellectual equivalent of an ejaculation. The sight of all those hardbounds and paperbacks stacked in a beautiful tower of books is therapeutic, and being able to actually devour the wisdom in each volume is a peaceful ceremony in itself.

There was a time in my six-week vacation when I was voraciously consuming five books at a time. It was actually four lengthy novels ("Four Past Midnight," "The Order of the Phoenix," "Great Horror Stories," "Servants of Twilight"), and a non-fiction title ("The World's Most Infamous Killers").

'Men Reading,' Goya
Sometimes, I really don't understand how I was able to manage poring through all those volumes at the same time. Maybe I was enchanted by all that knowledge. But all I remembered was that the Dean Koontz novel was chapters upon freaking chapters of chase scenes all over California, Harry Potter was showing all signs of adolescence minus the outbreak of zits, and the Langoliers were these little black balls consumed to eating reality in their wake. Blood apparently does wonders to the skin when used externally, and in very generous quantities, like in a blood bath, and that however fictitious, the idea of dying from fear itself makes for an interesting topic of conversation.

Goes well without saying that I just admitted to being a bibliophile, huh?

I really don't need to give an explanation as to how this addiction came to be. But I'm pretty sure it was my father to thank for this consuming appetite for the written word. When I was a kid, I'd remember him taking us to the BOOKSALE in Shaw Boulevard. You probably have heard of the establishment before. It's this second hand store for just about every assortment of used books. He started taking us there in the late eighties, myself and my two siblings, and he'd allow us to wander aimlessly among those volumes, while he waited in front of the cashier, checking out architectural magazines. After a few minutes of foraging, we'd go back to him, with a book or two in hand, and then we'd give it to him for inspection. He'd pay for those books later on, and he always did even if it was something that he didn't approve of.

I used to hunt for old Ikabod comicbooks and Cracked magazines, and I grew a steady collection overtime. My father absolutely despised my Cracked magazines. See, they bore a striking resemblance to MAD Magazines, the one with Alfred Neuman's ugly bucktoothed face on the cover, and he hated looking at that face. But like I said, he'd eventually take out his wallet and then had our picks wrapped in this white plastic bag.

When I grew into adolescence, the trips to the BOOKSALE was always something that I looked forward to. Funny, I was already a teenager, and yet I still repaired to childhood practices for comfort. I really don't know why I keep on coming back, but for some reason, it started becoming my very own weekend picnic.

Sometimes, it was my mother who took us, but it really didn't matter to me since I was always expecting to leave the store with something in a white plastic bag.

And I read everywhere!

I read my Cracked magazines on top of the stairs at one in the morning because it's the only place in our apartment where the light was on at that time of the night. I read something while walking home from elementary school. I read in the theaters while they're waiting to fill the seats before the movie starts. I read while waiting for a ride. And then I'd read in the cab, car, fx, jeep while going to UST and from UST. I read something while waiting for my turn in a job interview. And of course, I'd read myself to sleep.

My father died in 2004, and I brought a book along for the wake. For some reason, I find that as paying a tribute to the one guy who made all this delightful madness possible. Of course, I wasn't reading to him, or for him. I was doing it for myself. See, not only did I seek solace from this inanimate object of my choice, but I wanted to ignore everybody else and bury my nose in between the pages.

3 comments:

  1. this is a nice one!!! ako din, masyadong avid reader...kahit saan saan nagbabasa ako...while doing my "thing" in the toilet, while waiting in line for enrolment at UP, while walking from one class to the the next, during our noche buena while waiting for the guests..hehehe...grabe na ito.

    found your link through jessica zafra's

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  2. enjoyed reading your entry. the bit on your dad almost made me cry, although there was nothing in the way you wrote it that would have suggested you needed empathy. sadness and pain, yes, and concealed at that. keep blogging.

    ReplyDelete

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