Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Series, seriously

Do you ever have those moments when you realise you've changed but you can't remember the change actually occurring?

Example: I used to giggle like an idiot whenever I heard mention of the delightful but hilariously named North American titmouse; now I find I am able to speak sedately (sometimes indeed morosely) about the respectful and respected Parus inornatus. When did such a fundamental change take place? I don't know; what I do know is that I used to be young and silly and now I am, well, old.

As I may have mentioned (or possibly droned on about), I turned 35 last week. On this otherwise happy occasion, a dear friend sadistically informed me that 35 is in fact the opening bracket of middle-aged. And so I find myself, newly early-middle-aged, suddenly aware that another change has taken place.

And that change is thus:

I used to hate series of books (same as the army: you're stuck against your will until the bitter, bitter end) but last night, settling down to read Peter Carey's Jack Maggs, I caught myself thinking "Deary me, I'm really not sure I'm up to meeting a whole new cast of characters; can't they all just stay the same as my last book? I mean, really?"

Then it struck me: if I was reading a series I wouldn't have to get to know anyone new! It would all be the same as the last book, with just a few details changed here and there.

'Marvelous!' I thought, in my newly minted, closed minded, middle-agedness, 'Never need I trouble the waters of my stagnating mind again!'

I quickly abandoned Jack Maggs and retired to the couch to dream about my ideal banana chair, safe in the knowledge that the last bit of actual thinking I ever need do is find the longest possible series I can. Bliss.

One of the world's greatest banana chairs, which is coincidentally and marvellously, currently available on ebay. I just wish I lived in Narre Warren and could pick it up.


Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Kettle, as The Clash once observed;

"So you grow up and you calm down/
You're working for the clampdown"

However, I suspect you may not want to hear this.

And I believe the "Harry Potter" series is currently running at around 11-billion pages.

That might keep you amused for a night or two.

Kettle said...

Ramon if by 'clampdown' you mean what my, ahem, youthful and footloose and fancy-free 35-year old hand does to a bottle of Beez Neez then I am quite happy to discuss all things clampdown.

If, on the other hand, you suspect The Clash had other, more oppression-based meanings in mind, then let us not speak of them. Let us cry into our 11 billion pages of Harry Potter instead.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Oddly enough, I still do the same stupid things I did in my youth.

Just much, much more slowly.

Kettle said...

And with greater wisdom, Ramon.

Now we know just what kind if hang-over we'll have tomorrow.

Razzgirl said...

O God, I'm having terrible trouble switching from Eat, Pray, Love (I know) to the memoirs of Christopher Hitchens AND I'm 36. Pause for thought.

I would have thought second-hand retro banana chairs were more a sign of middle age, Kettle?

Kettle said...

Perhaps, Razz, we could overcome our book-transition issues by ceasing to read books at all. I bet there are some lovely sewing/scrapbooking/decoupage magazines we could move onto as we descend into middle age. I'll buy 'Naff Knitting' if u subscribe to 'Sew Your Way To Senility'. We could swap.

You know, you could be right about the banana chair. I just want somewhere to lie down and rest my weary back, look at the trees for a bit and listen to the birdies (and soothing airoplanes). That probably makes me more 85 than 35, hey.

squib said...

I noticed a few years ago that young people (as in people 34 and under, Kettle) now look right through me like they have mentally already buried me in a nursing home

It's very depressing

Jack McDevitt's Academy Series is quite good if you like sci fi and archaeology and poor characterisation and stuff happening. You can pretend your banana chair is a starship!

Kettle said...

I noticed a few years ago that young people (as in people 34 and under, Kettle) now look right through me

Squib I have overcome this by refusing to wear my contacts when venturing into environments where there might be young people; if they can't see me then I can't see them right back. Hmph!

Thanks for the tip about Jack McDevitt's series. I particularly like poor characterisations and stuff happening! Marvellous. In exciting banana chair news, I've got two (two!) on the way: one just like the one in the photo for this post, and another sleek new one (black! With a micro-weave seat!) that will make an excellent faux space ship.

Kettle said...

I seem to have been infected with the Exclamation Virus today - hideous, hideous affliction.

Hopefully it will pass quickly.



Gah, stop please, for the love of Drumsticks.


katiecrackernuts said...

I dream of finding a banana lounge like this one, or a couple of those old-school striped canvas camp chairs.

Kettle said...

Dear katiecrackernuts (great name, by the way), after coveting the eBay banana chairs I happened upon just such chairs in Big W, only cheaper and more newer! Same marvellously lurid colours; same marvellously sweat-inducing plastic, AND all for less than $20.

I used to have a Barbie-sized blue-and-white striped deck chair when I was little. It was easily one of my top five toys. If you find an adult-sized one, do post a photo and tell me where you got it from.