"Lost weekend" just conjures debauchery, right? It's booze and little sleep and lasciviousness, a coffee table littered with lipstick-marked glasses, their slices of lime and traces of melted ice drying in the harsh light of morning-after. Scattered dirty dishes. A deck or two of playing cards, small sheets of paper alongside keeping track of scores, recording the hands. It's naughty. And exhausting.
Kind of like the weekend I just had.
Sitting here on Tuesday morning, I'm still tired, not yet fully recovered from the weekend away from home, away at Tahoe with a friend while our husbands backpacked. As I age, it's harder and harder to bounce back from time spent outside of my usual routine, late nights, my appetites. There's so much potential for discomfort: prone to altitude-induced migraines, sensitive to changes in sleep patterns, even the strength of the coffee. Even though we were back on Sunday mid-day, I spent the rest of that day and yesterday, a holiday, still mooning about the house a bit, unmoored and fuzzy.
I know what you're thinking. You're imagining us sitting out on the deck in the full moonlight, our feet up on the railing, heads thrown back against the chairs and staring up into the bright sky, drinking, chattering, laughing. You're imagining us playing Damn It into the wee hours, my friend kicking my ass at the game as usual, unbeatable. You're assuming mixed drinks and gossip and late nights. That's all true.
But I know what you're missing.
I was, we both were, under a spell.
I'm pretty sure you're not picturing us sharing the sectional couch in the living room, computers open to Solitaire on our respective laps, each one of us plugged into headphones plugged into iPhones, listening to the same book side-by-side in the same room. I'm pretty sure that's not what you had in mind when you heard the words "lost weekend."
And yet that's it. That's what happened. I lost an entire weekend -- 24 entire hours -- to listening to A Discovery of Witches. I may be violating a sacred trust -- what happens at the cabin stays at the cabin -- but need to confess the specific nature of this latest transgression, this acquisition of a new shade of vice.
For whatever reason, listening to a book feels inherently lazier than reading a book. Reading a book is like shopping at Whole Foods: there's a glamour of virtuousness attached to it, like you're doing something good for yourself, taking a stand for old school goodness in this fucked-up world of ours. Listening to a book: not so much.
It's possible I would have had the exact same reaction to reading the physical book, equally engrossed, consumed by the same desire to keep returning to it, for all other activity to cease so I could return to Diana and Matthew, to witches and demons and vampires, to this other reality so much more compelling than our own. With the headphones on, or listening to it in the car, not speaking except to offer each other mints or comment, quickly, on the traffic, there was something captivating and decadent about it.
The best part of it all was that we were both doing it. It wasn't just me, like it usually is, wishing people would stop talking and go away so I could go back to my book. This was a synchronized dive, both of us craving the return to the water.
It was, in so many ways, an ideal weekend, perfect for me, debauched in my most favorite way. Truly relaxing. Simple. Yes, there was drinking and cards and late nights and lots of toast, but the best best part was having a story read directly into my ears by a skilled narrator.
And yet I'm exhausted by my own obsessiveness with the story, wrung out from the listening, temporally displaced. As hungry as I am for book 2 in the trilogy, I'm forcing myself to take a break, coming up for air in between, trying to get my footing back. And waiting for the book to arrive from Amazon, so I can see if the book itself holds as much magic as the being read-to, that great treat of being a passenger for so many hours.
A perfect weekend. Completely lost.