Wednesday, October 14, 2015

One of THOSE people

My children have passed a certain threshold, and it seems parents are no longer expected to stay with them at birthday parties.


I am not anti-social.  But I'm not a fan of making small talk with strangers in crowded, noisy locales.  (In my bar hopping days, I went with friends, not to meet people.)

Like any bookworm, I'd get my kid checked in and see them off to roam the trampolines/video arcade/bowling alley, smile uncomfortably at the other hovering parents, then find an out of the way place to sit and pull out my book.  It was still kind of awkward, but it sure beat being there without a book.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine, who is your basic extrovert.  "Oh my God!" she laughed.  "You're one of THOSE people!"

Yeah, I thought proudly.  I guess I am.  I always wanted to be one of THOSE people.

And I thought of Uncle Glen.

He wasn't a real uncle, but that was how my family dealt with the question of what to call adults we knew well. Glen and my dad met through work, though their wives became closer friends.  My middle name is Louise, after Glen's wife.  She was a stern and grumpy lady that I was rather afraid of, so I've never been a big fan of my middle name.

Uncle Glen, on the other hand, was pleasant and quiet.  He did PR for the local electric company, and I remember hearing him quoted often on the radio during Portland's back-to-back ice storms in the 1979 and 1980.  But that wasn't the thing I admired most about him.

What I most admired about Uncle Glen was that, whenever my parents had Glen and Louise over for dinner, and the adults retired to the living room for after dinner conversation, Glen would only last about ten minutes.  Then he would drift to our bookshelves, find himself a book, and sit in a comfortable chair to read.  I had never seen another adult do this, and I thought it was SO COOL.  I was dimly aware that he was breaking an unspoken rule by doing this--"When you're a guest in someone's house, you have to pay attention to them and/or be interesting for them."  And I knew he didn't mean to be rude.  He just...really wanted to read now.  He was one of THOSE people.

I bet you are too.

What social rules are you willing to bend or break in order to get your reading fix?  Has anyone ever disapproved of your reading?  Who in your life is your reading hero?

Also, my husband thinks I'm awesome because I keep volunteering to take our son to his diving lessons.  What he doesn't seem to realize is that I get almost 90 minutes of uninterrupted reading time in by doing this.  Quintessential win/win!  


  1. I love taking my kids to their events so that I can read! And your story of Uncle Glen just makes me smile. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  2. This is great! My kids are still way too young for me to do any reading while they are conscious, but you have made me look forward to the day where two things can happen: I don't have to take care of them for an hour or two AND I can read in the car! This sounds like perfection.

    Now I do wish I had more people to socialize with. BUT, not strangers who all know each other and I feel like a weirdo sitting there- then I would absolutely find a corner to read in, no question!

    Uncle Glen sounds awesome ;) Hey- did Glen like Louise? I mean, I know she was his wife, but that's no guarantee ;) If he DID, you can totally say that your middle name honors GLEN. Because if he loved Louise... done and done!

    I hope you have many more reading hours to come, and someday, I hope to join you! :D
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

  3. Yes to being one of THOSE people. I am terribly embarrassing for my children when all I want to talk to their friends about is what they have read lately, (usually just the required high school readings) I will wait in the car for them (the teenagers, not the babies...yet) with a good book. I being a book or my kindle with me everywhere, if people say anything (or stare) I just tell them I am a book blogger and that usually shuts them up.
    Your Uncle Glen sounds great. What a lovely role model for you.


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