I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Best. Flight. Ever.

I recently found myself on a trip from New Zealand to Melbourne with no reading material. I know, hardly the stuff of  nightmares for anyone, right? Actually, for me to be on a flight with no reading material IS a nightmare. I find those stupid little TV screens on the backs of the chairs quite headache-inducing, and most of the time I have little or no patience to watch movies anyway. So either I start watching something and get a headache so I give up, or I start watching and the next time I look at the screen, the boy who met the girl has already divorced the girl and somehow I missed the middle bit.  As someone who flies at least once a year, I rely entirely on books to keep me occupied for those seemingly interminable hours spent above the Pacific Ocean. (Yes, yes, I know I should buy a Kindle...we're not going to get into that debate today, all right?)

I'm also someone who reads at a reasonable clip (and by "reasonable clip" I mean I can finish about 3-4 fairly chunky novels a week, reading only for the half hour or hour before bed and a bit on the weekend.) I had taken a book with me, but I'd finished it in the airspace somewhere between Los Angeles and Auckland, so I found myself facing a 5 hour flight home bereft of entertainment. I popped into a book shop in Auckland to see if I could find something suitable. There was the usual assortment of chick-lit, thrillers, myriad self-help books and 'how to make a million dollars without really trying' type books. None of it really appealed to me, probably because I was in a decidedly contrary mood at the time. A sales assistant saw me wandering and asked what I was looking for. "Honestly, I have no idea," I replied, "Other than it needs to be compelling enough to last 5 hours, a quick and easy read, and not depressing. I can't handle depressing." She smiled and said, "I've got a great book which meets all that criteria," and walked away. She came back a minute later and said, "Have you ever heard of '50 Shades of Grey'?" "No," I said. "Well, take this book. Just trust me. It'll *definitely* keep you busy," and she pushed it into my hands. I didn't bother to read the blurb on the back, I just said, "Have YOU read it?" "Oh YES!" she enthusiastically replied. "And so I'm assuming you're recommending it because you enjoyed it?" "OH YES!" she said, rather forcefully. "Just trust  me," she said. Well, nothing ventured, I paid my NZ $18 for this book and headed off. Shoved into the bottom of my bag, I didn't really think about it much after that.

Eventually I got onto the plane and discovered that the two people sharing my row of three were Mr Huge and Mr Enormous. I was in the window seat and both of them were already sitting down. You know that feeling of dread you get as you watch the people walk by, hoping like hell none of them are coming to sit next to you? That was the feeling these two men had (not hard to see it, it was written all over their faces) as I approached. Sadly, I had to make them get up so I could get into my seat - it was quite an effort. The two of them proceeded to remain standing until the very last second that they were allowed to. This isn't because I'm so big (I'm not) but because the effort to get into and out of the seats in the first place was quite an experience and I suspect neither wanted to sit in those seats a moment longer than they had to. I'm not being judgmental here. I TOTALLY understand that feeling all too well. So I sympathized and squished myself into a small a space as I could. I just about had my face smooshed up against the window in order to give them as much space as I could. I've been in their shoes. It's beyond awful. (Someday I will share the story of the flight to Paris with DH. Suffice to say my hips still hurt when I think about it.)

So there I am, squished into the gap between the arm rest and the side of the plane, and it's kinda hot and stuffy in there and I've got 5 very long, very dull hours in which to keep my mind occupied. I pull out my book (thanking god I had the where with all to buy it in the first place) and I read the blurb. "Bugger," I think, "Another chick lit book. Urgh."

At this point I'm hot and sweaty and bored - with nothing to lose, I crack open the book and start to read it.

The first several pages are pretty boring, standard chick-lit stuff, and pretty poorly written - but then I've been known to read the back of cereal boxes, so...I'm not picky. I kept reading.

Oh.

My.

OOOOOHHHHH.

MMMMYYYYYYYY.

Well. Yes.

I can see why the book shop lady was so enthusiastic about her recommendation.

I finished the book while standing at the baggage carousel waiting for my luggage, having not removed my eyes from the pages from way back when I was smushed into the seat back in Auckland. I nearly ran into several people as I walked off the plane, through security and so on. I literally did not put it down.

I can say with some certainty that it was an engaging, easy read which was certainly not depressing. I can also say with some certainty that I very much regretted being stuck in that window seat (a means of escape and some privacy would have been...quite useful), and that in the ensuing weeks DH has been quite pleased with my choice of leisure reading as well.

(I'll let you go Google the book title and see what you come up with.)

Best (and yet somehow most frustrating) flight ever.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have not read it, but it has been a bit of a kindle sensation.

I first read about this book a little while ago, on the interweb...

http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/50-shades-of-grey-the-erotic-novel-everyones-talking-about/

apparently it was initially written as Twilight fan fiction about a more grown up Bella and Edward.

Did you know there were more of them? Dh might be pleased to hear that too.

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

I got home and did some research and discovered it was a trilogy - but I haven't bothered to find the other two books yet. Not sure my blood pressure can handle it! :) The writing itself is pretty miserable but it's not one of those books one reads "for the articles" anyway!

Jen Jen Qld said...

I too had heard all about it on the internet and decided to download it to my KINDLE (OMG my kindle is in the top 10 loves of my life....no pressure at all :) )
Get the 2nd and 3rd...just as hypnotic as the first and not quite so "alternate".
I read all three in a weekend and might be tempted to reread them all...
I think Kmart has them all in paperback for $9.95 each.

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

I'm not anti-Kindle (although I do prefer books which are books, so to speak) - more a case of not wanting to have yet another thing which needs charging, and also a case of I'd probably spend a shed load! I actually forced myself into a library habit because buying books was getting a little out of control - I think a Kindle would just fuel that habit, especially since those books don't take up shelf space!

M

Claire - Matching Pegs said...

This gave me the giggles...

http://www.mamamia.com.au/entertainment/video-ellen-degeneres-reads-50-shades-of-grey/

and that first comment was me - not sure why it came up as anon...