Tuesday, March 5, 2013

When People Say Foxes Are Cunning, It's Not Just A Figurative Thing.

Oh lord, I am thoroughly Gen Y! Apart from my all-encompassing LOVE of all things Real Housewives and Dr Phil and the fact that I always have at least three devices running, I’d have to say my worst generation Y trait is my constant need to find the quickest way to do something.

It started out innocently, probably about three or four years ago, when I began saying ‘LOL’. I swear I meant it in an ironic way (I know, that’s what they all say), it was mocking – witty even. But you know how these things are, it all starts as a joke and before you know it you’re watching Everybody Loves Raymond, he calls Deborah “smelly tramp” and you look at the person you’re with and exclaim “OMG LOL!” And actually mean it. Oh, dear.

So now, logically, I am going to discuss my love of audio books.

I thought I was a genius when I downloaded Tina Fey’s book ‘Bossy Pants’ and put it onto my iPhone. I listened to it every day on the way to work, had a good chuckle and then told everyone that I had read it. I’m still unsure whether or not this is a lie, although given my history (see here and here) I’m going to go ahead and say that it is probably some sort of untruth. Anyway, on the back of my one-whole-book-read-in-a-single-week-while-driving, I thought “let’s branch out and try some serious literature”. So I went ahead and downloaded all thirty of the little six minute chapters of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘No Country For Old Men’. I love violence and I love good prose, so this book had been on my list for ages. And so began the most confusing few days of driving to work I have ever experienced.

I need to preface this anecdote with the fact that at this point in my life I was leaving home at 5.09am to drive 25 kilometres from my house in the inner city to Sydney’s north shore. This was a dark and quiet drive to work which could sometimes be a little strange. Once I got literally every one of the red lights between my house and Hunters Hill (probably about thirty sets in all) and was punching my steering wheel in fury when I arrived at one of those sets of lights which can only be triggered by someone pressing the cross walk button. Of course the lights went red, and as I looked around for a culprit whom I could silently hate for the rest of my drive to work, a fox walked across the road. How he pressed the button I never found out, but it was a weird moment in my life none the less. Anyway, I digress.

It was on this long and quiet drive to work that I began to listen to McCarthy’s tale of Llewelyn and his accidental involvement in an illicit drug deal gone wrong. The setting and people were painted beautifully in my mind, but I couldn’t get past how little regard McCarthy had for an even remotely linear story line. Just when I would start to understand what was happening, the whole story would be shaken up and I would be utterly lost again. One moment a character would be dead, the next he was walking and talking, he’d be crossing a plane and suddenly he was in a motel. After five days of listening to this almost nonsensical story as I drove through the silent streets of Sydney (which were thankfully sans-fox) I started to wonder if I was going mad. Why couldn’t I understand this acclaimed novel? Had I lost my smarts? Had I sustained some sort of head injury? NONE of the reviews spoke of difficulty simply understanding the transition between scenes and situations. Finally the novel came to an end. I picked up my phone (slightly relieved at the silence) and went to play a song. It was then that I realised my iPhone had been set to SHUFFLE the whole time.  

So now I’m back to reading books like a normal person – with my eyes. Yep, totes a Gen Y epic fail. LOL.

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