I Fold

When I was little, I used to leave one bite of food on my plate all the time. I don’t know why and I don’t know exactly when I outgrew this, but I think I just wanted to know there was something else left there if I wanted it—at least one little bite left to savor.

These days I leave no bite uneaten (watch your fingers, boys and girls,) but I do sometimes find myself dragging out the last couple bites or sips of something particularly delicious. It gets eaten, but it gets savored a little bit more than the first couple bites that I took.

That behavior has since extended to devouring books and magazines, as when I enjoy them, I hate when they’re done.


When I start reading something, I rarely pay attention to my pace or the pages I’ve read. I’m simply lost in the world of words (or “ooh! pretty pictures”) as I make my way through the story or issue.

But when I get towards the end, I start slowing down. I meander and ease my way through the pages, flipping back through and around again, trying to delay the inevitable—the last page, the last word.

So right now on my “just throw it there table,” I have two magazines I’ve read sections of and a book with about 10 pages left. I could easily finish any one of them in no time at all, but yet I keep this random rotation going so that I still have a bit of each of them left. 

I have issues, I know.

But I also know that this physical representation of what I have to read is the reason that I can’t get on board with e-readers or other technological reading gadgets. 

I like seeing the pages I still have to read or the magazine sitting on my counter.  Yes, I actually have to turn the pages myself and they might take up a little space, but I can write in the margins or dog ear a page and go right back to where I was at.

I’m sure e-readers are quite handy in a “My iPhone can beat up your iPhone way” and they claim that they make reading easier, but what’s so difficult about picking up a book or magazine? Do we really have to make everything easier?

If we’re really looking to improve on the ease of doing something, how about they invent a gadget that can fold and put away laundry.

It’s a pain in the ass, and I’m pretty sure that if I never had to do it again, I would have enough time left over to read every single book in Barnes & Noble and write a few myself.

Never once have I found myself lingering over the last pair of socks, picking one up to examine it before putting it back down in the basket, disappointed in the fact that once it is matched up with it’s partner, that particular task will be over. 

Instead, I find myself resenting every sock or shirt that necessitates a hanger in order to avoid ironing, as we know how I feel about that.

After this stressful domestic endeavor—one that can only be matched by changing the sheets on the bed or picking up rice that I dropped in the carpet—the last thing I want to do is grab some technical gadget, sit down on the couch to read and discover my battery’s low.

No, I still savor some of the simple things, like a cup of tea on the couch with a half-read magazine on my lap.

Plus then when I spill all the tea on my lap, I don’t have to risk electrocution.

It’s really a win all around .

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23 responses to “I Fold

  1. I was in shock and awe when my nephew talked about pirating downloaded textbooks as he prepares for college. I mean, hail yeah saving money…but…I was like “I wouldn’t like that you need…the page! Too highlight and tab and..too feel..”
    Then I was at a loss as he just stared blankly.
    I just cannot comprehend learning from an electro-screen.

    Then…THEN…that translates to the emotional connection thingy that I have no words for but you so eloquently refer too…would I have dug The Scarlet Letter as much as I did in high school if it was a screen?
    I can’t get down.
    But I think I may *maybe* appreciate a Kindle if someone gave me one and I could check out e-books from the library.

    So crazy what this world is coming to…we are at the crux of crucial tech development that I think unprecedented in history. I mean…I will have to expalin one day that there were phones attached to walls with cords and handsets attached to those phones with cords. Or that washing machines (pre-high efficiency) actually made noise.

    PS- Roomba?

  2. So, it must take you hours to read my blog.

  3. OMG you eat just like my husband. He ALWAYS leaves a little in the pan as he moves the food to his plate. Then leaves a little on the plate when he is done. If there were more steps he’d end up with a thimble of food he could eat. It must be a Polish thing.

  4. I’m green with envy over the color of your thumb. I despise yard work. I would do all of your laundry and organize your sock drawer if you would deal with my yard and plant us a nice garden.

    I used to clean my plate. Once, I was 35 pounds heavier and in very poor health. Portion size is a key component to satying in shape and maintaining a good weight. I often leave food on my plate and her the hypocrite word when I get on to my kids for ordering too much food in a restaurant.

    • It’s funny how everyone is gravitating towards the food example and not the book example. For me, I always have portioned out amounts to eat, so it’s never a matter of overindulging or anything. I think leaving a bit when I was little was my own little rebellion or something ;) Now leaving a few pages of a book left to read is my own little treat.

  5. Hi there, stranger. It seems our little talk about the need to stay as disconnected as possible continues. I, for one, don’t like e-readers one bit. Well, maybe one bit – they take up very little space. But then again, isn’t that the great thing about books? They take up space, and you can tell when you enter a room with beautiful bookcases everywhere (and books in them, of course) that someone lives there, it’s a home. Do you know what I mean? And what about the smell of books? Will they add a special button to your average e-reader that says, ‘press for smell of old bookshop’? Well, Amazonaholics like myself can’t be bothered :)

    As for the folding gadget you were hoping for, my friend Sheldon has one (well, sort of): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kZUWkB7eZE

  6. I knew I loved you. You just gave me two more reasons why. As a lover of books and a hater of laundry, you’re my kind of friend.

  7. I’m the complete opposite with books- I tear through them with the knowledge there is another one waiting out there to be read and I…must…get…to…it.

    As for laundry, it’s called a laundry basket. You pull the clothes out of the dryer, haul the basket to your closet and pick out what you need as you need it. Problem solved.

    • I find two flaws in your theories:
      1) If I have something else I can read once whatever I’m reading is done, I’m fine. If I don’t have something new to read, I stretch out whatever it is I have.
      2) Laundry that sits in a laundry basket gets wrinkled, which requires an iron (at least for work, as looking disheveled is frowned upon.) I don’t iron, so I hang the crap up ;)

  8. I need to see, smell, touch books. Kindle is evil and must be stopped. I love the sound of flipping pages. i love how a word shoots off a page – a physical page – as if the ink magically expanded for my eyes only.
    So? I get it. i so get it.

  9. I’ve used an ereader and I just didn’t get the same enjoyment out of it. I, like you, enjoy the tangible progress of turning the page, but I also enjoy sharing the book/magazine. I like knowing that my dad gave me a book which I gave to my sister who gave it to a friend. Every page has been touched and read by all of us and it feels like a special bond in a way. I tried explaining this to someone the other day and they looked at me like I was crazy, maybe I am. But I’m glad you get it ;)

  10. I typically devour a book. If I don’t finish it, I go crazy thinking about how it will end.

    I admit to having a Kindle. It has its pros and cons. I like being able to purchase a new book at any time and have it instantly and not have to leave the house. But I miss the feel of a real book and the joy of sharing a good read with someone else.

  11. Move to India and get a dhobi. Laundry problem solved.

    I am not convinced of the Kindle, although for my husband it is a great solution. Less books that I have to find a home for (he reads SO much). For me though, I could never read a magazine on a ‘machine’ — I have to do my special fold so that I know I want to go back to it. Plus eventually, when I finally call it done, the magazines are perfect crafting material for my littles.

  12. I gave in to the e-reader a while ago. I have a Kindle and an iPad. I was skeptical too but I’ve come around. I do like the fact that I’m not stockpiling books in my house that I will never read again. I do miss being able to underline and go back and forth easily. The problem with the Kindle is that it doesn’t give page numbers. That drives me crazy. You only know the % left of what’s to be read. I’m reducing my carbon footprint by not using up the paper although I’m sure I’ve negated that with all the bottles of water we’ve gone through since starting our kitchen remodel.

  13. Totally with you on the e-reader issue; it’s just not the same without real pages.

  14. I feel the same way with a good book or magazine. However I also feel very accomplished when I finish them!

    I do tend to slow down toward the end of the laundry folding only because it’s such a royal pain and I’d rather do something else!

  15. It’s funny to see this written in a blog. But I have read a few other blogs whose writers feel the same way. I’m a fan of paper books and real bookstores, so I hope they stick around.

  16. Do you have a best friend? ‘Cause, I have never met you, but I think we could be best friends.

    Seriously, I cannot get into e-readers for the exact same reasons. At the same time folding those @#$! socks is the bane of my existence. Yes, I’ve blogged about my sock pile. (I have seven children…..so, you can imagine the sock nightmare.)

    Maybe someday they’ll invent a Kindle that I can press flowers in and that has that old-book smell. Then maybe we’ll talk.

    • Seven children? Wow! With seven to choose from, I’m thinking you should assign “fold the socks” to one of them and cut yourself a break ;)

  17. oH Abby, even when you write about something so simple, you make it so eloquent. Come to PA and teach me how to write, I’ll ply you with tea and chocolate chip cookies. :)

  18. I love books and well stocked book shelves too. However, with tendonitis in my wrists, books are HEAVY to hold; even paper-back books are hard to hold open without flaring up the tendonitis. And right now, as I lie in bed waiting for back surgery (it’s been 6 months now…long story) and only being able to get relief by lying on my right side, the kindle that a friend gave me has been a godsend. It is easy to read while lying on my side (not having to prop the books up on their spines) and is much lighter than the hard-backed books I love to read. It’s terrible for magazines or blogs though, because it is only in black and white.

    I found that they do have the feature of being able to lend 1 book at a time to friends that have kindles. And if you share an account with anyone (like my daughter) you can both read the same book at the same time. In addition, sometime in 2011 they are adding the feature of being able to borrow books from your local library (again, only 1 at a time) but no more waiting for someone to return the book you want to read to the library before being able to check it out.

    All of the books that have been published by the Gutenberg Project (books that are in the public domain) are free, so I’ve got my Dickens, Bronte, Austen, etc., books on the kindle too.

    My daughter had a brain hemorrhage at the age of 18 (she is now 23) and it affected her vision terribly—double vision and difficulty tracking from line to line, especially when the columns and pages are wide—as well as giving her severe ataxia [shaking of her hands and arms], and the kindle allows her to change the size of the fonts, number of words per line, space between the lines, etc., so that she can now read books again. (Yes, some books do come in large print, but the percentage is very low and the selection is limited. And they are generally more expensive as well.

    So while the i-readers may not be for everyone, they are very helpful for people with disabilities. They are great for traveling too, as they can hold a bazillion (ok, I made this figure up) books as well.

    • Hi Kati,
      Thank you for sharing that side of it. I can imagine that it does make things much easier for you given your situation. If I were ever faced with similar disabilities, I wouldn’t hesitate to use one myself. Given the fact that I’m (relatively) healthy, I still prefer the old fashioned books and magazines :) Good luck with everything!

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