Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bleakly Falling Apart

One of the joys of entering middle age is that one becomes more and more reminded of one's mortality.  In my 20s and 30s my mind and body were supercharged machines...not that I was some superman athlete and scholar like Ben Franklin and Jesse Owens combined, but I was lean and healthy and could go out dancing and boozing until 3 a.m. and it was all good.  Then, in my 40s, the wheels started to come off the well-oiled machine.  Slowly I found myself getting tired at night...at NIGHT, when the fun and exciting stuff is supposed to be happening!  The Saturday night out until 3am became the Saturday night in watching a video and falling asleep by midnight (which, while late for some, is early for me, a notorious late person).  And the body started its inevitable decay...I gained a few pounds, my muscles complain more after exercising, and just two days ago I had to get gum surgery.  Gum surgery is actually not as bad as it sounds, but I don't really recommend it unless necessary.  So what does all this self-indulgent whining have to do with "Bleak House"?  Well, the one thing I was looking forward to about having gum surgery was that I would take a day off of work, and as a result I could get some serious reading done.  Like maybe even finish "Bleak House"!  So what happened...well, I got home, the novocaine wore off, and I had to take Vicodin for the pain.  As I soon learned, Vicodin and literature do not mix so well.  Appropriately enough for "Bleak House", I found my mind getting foggy, and I could not focus on reading.  And it made me fall asleep at the ungodly hour of 8pm.  So much for the good side of gum surgery.  Fortunately, I'm much better today, and I'm getting by on Advil alone, so the mind is clear again and ready to go, but then of course I had to go back to work today.  So I've still got about 100 pages of "Bleak House" left to go.

I find myself enjoying the book quite a bit now.  The various story lines of all the different characters are starting to come together, and indeed the characters have all become like friends...I shall miss all their quirks and follies when I'm done with the book.  Plus, there's been a murder, which always makes a book interesting.  One of the characters, Mr. Bucket, is a detective who has now come to the forefront to solve the murder.  He's quite an interesting character, and I like the fact that he was a very minor character for the first 650 pages or so, and then suddenly he becomes almost the main character, and the novel totally changes tone and becomes a detective mystery story...at least for a bit.  This book is such a giant sprawling mishmash of characters and moods and styles...kind of like life itself!  Without the gum surgery, that is.

2 comments:

J.D. said...

Have you found the time to finish up those last 100 pages yet? Because of the sheer bigness of a Dickens novel, I always get that melancholic ache in my belly when I finish the last page. It's like leaving someplace you've lived a very long time and saying goodbye to everybody you love.

Robby Virus said...

Yes, and yes! See my latest post for more details. Like I say, I would really like to reread this book...it will be like visiting with old friends!