I ended up staying up 'til 5 a.m. talking to Kevin. 6 his time. We decided to go to sleep then mostly so that we'd have a chance of falling asleep before the sun rose. I think I am a phone junkie. We've had nine-hour telephone conversations! Okay, only one of those, so it shouldn't be plural, but plenty of 6+ hour ones. And even before Kev and I started going on these phone binges, I was something of an addict. I remember back in grammar school, I spent eleven hours on the phone one Saturday, talking to three different friends. Insane. I didn't even have a cordless back then, so I couldn't putter around cleaning my room and hanging up clothes the way I can now. If I had a decent cordless that didn't turn to static more than a few feet away from my desk, I could do dishes and sweep and such while I talked. *That* would be cool. A shame I can't write while I do it.
There's a billboard, an ad for Nintendo or some such, that has as its caption something along the lines of: "Must one be productive *all* the time?" I laugh every time I see it. And then I think of the Bloom County in my bathroom, the one where Opus suddenly realizes he's wasting his life in idleness, and runs around frantically for a while trying to accomplish things before he falls over exhausted in front of the tv. I think Calvin and Hobbes did something similar a few times. It's a good subject, and one that seems more and more appropriate.
It's funny -- I certainly don't think people today work any harder than my great-grandparents did in Sri Lanka...but I think in some ways we've forgotten how to relax, guilt-free, when we do have time off. Or some of us have. Maybe it's just me. I tend not to feel justified in watching tv unless a) I'm researching something, b) I'm watching it with people, and therefore being social, c) I'm sick, d) I'm upset/depressed, or e) I have something I'm working on in my hands (I cloved oranges for decorations while watching tv, and chopped fruit for the fruitcake). Now, you can justifiably note that these are a lot of exceptions/excuses...and I probably watch plenty of tv. But I think it's funny, and perhaps a little sad, that I feel the need to have an excuse.
I'm like that about vacations too. Travelling is fine, but if I'm just hanging out at home, or my parents' home, I get itchy after about a week. There's only so long you can read, after all.
Speaking of which, I finished a new Delaney today. Very exciting! The Einstein Intersection, and well worth reading, even if it isn't his best. Neil Gaiman wrote the introduction to this new edition, which was an added bonus. It is, in many ways, a young book, as Gaiman points out. So much so that I winced a little on Chip's behalf -- and my own. I understand the temptation to start every chapter with exceedingly witty quotes, and the little inside jokes that show off one's erudition are really very hard to resist. Luckily, he learned to resist them, and even this book has very much that is classic Delaney, from the fascinating gender-play to the virtuoso use of language to the nail-biting. I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to one of my favorite authors (top 5) (Babel-17, perhaps, or if you want a short story, "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones"), but for an aficionado, it's a find.
Well, back to the Christmas set-up. The party's tomorrow...the cookies were baked today (though they still need to be decorated) and the rich cake (Sri Lankan fruitcake) was tasted and wrapped. It came out really well! I decided to leave off the marzipan layer because a) that's really more for weddings and b) it was plenty sweet already. It's odd -- I spent so many hours on that cake -- shopping and cutting and mixing and baking and cutting and wrapping and wrapping again...you'd think it would be too much, but it reminded me instead of what it felt like growing up in my mother's kitchen, making three or four batches of this stuff instead of one, with a whole passel of aunts and kids helping (the men were talking politics on the porch, I think, though we occasionally sent them out for more groceries). I called up one of my aunts with a question about the recipe a few days ago, and she sounded so startled that I was attempting it -- it's definitely a big task (Lydia was luckily visiting this morning and helped tremendously with the wrapping), and I think that they didn't expect me to take it on. I suppose if I can't be a proper Sri Lankan woman any other way, I can at least manage it in the kitchen...