Red Shoes, Connecticut, and A Lesson in Alphabetizing

I’m sitting in a Toyota dealership, waiting for my car’s regularly scheduled maintenance to be completed. I came armed with all of my tools – Sony e-reader, iPad, Blackberry. In the past half hour since I got here, I’ve used all of them, but find the iPad the most beguiling.

Right now I’m people watching…. Such a motherload of characters here, in this little dealership today. My current fave is the woman with red patent leather high heels. She also has dangly earrings like cherries (I am not making this up!), an ankle bracelet, a full length pleather coat, and a fake Louis Vuitton bag. She is both over- and under-dressed. She has been swanning around the showroom, clickety-clacking her heels and stroking her chinny-chin-chin and looking very important.

I thought she wanted to buy a car, but now I’m not sure. She was tippy-tapping around the SUV (the shiny red one, to match her shoes) but now she is sitting with the rest of us in the waiting room. She is one of those people who lick their fingers when they want to turn the page of their magazine. That used to seem glamorous to me; those sassy dames in 40’s movies licked their fingers when they read. Now it just makes me think about germs.

Her heels are open toed and she has coral toenail polish. I really want to take her out for a coffee. I have imagined a whole life story for her, and wish I could compare notes with her to see if I’m close.

One reason I’m here, aside from it being the regular time for this car check up, is that Mr. 761 and I are going on a road trip to Connecticut, and it’s always nice to have car checked out first. My brother lives there, with his wife and two adorable girls, and since it’s an easy drive we thought we’d go. Grandma & Grandpa 761 will also be there, and it seemed like a nice way to make a quick week’s jaunt  into something extra nice. The last time I chatted with Grandpa 761 he didn’t sound great, but I talked to him this afternoon and he sounded much better. I’m happy about that.

I like that Mr. 761’s job gives us this freedom…. For so many years we lived minute-to-minute, working at raising the kids, working at our jobs, and making ends meet. Anywhere we wanted to go had to be accessible, which ruled out a lot – even family. Now, the kids are grown, or almost-grown, and we have these month-long leaves that allow us to go places. Connecticut is only 14 hours away by car – one long day, or two lovely relaxed days – but we have never driven there together. This is our time. I’m hungry to spend this time with him, to show him places and people dear to me – places and people we were too busy/broke/tired to see until now. It really is a gift, in a lot of ways (the whole work-in-Kandahar part of it bites, as does the not having him here all the time, but we’re managing, and trying to really appreciate the perks).

So. We leave tomorrow, and I may blog, but may not. Depends.

You have not yet read a single thing on this blog today about CBC Canada Reads 2011. The reason for that is that I have had nothing much to say about it lately. I have voted already, and I’m awaiting the results of the vote next week. I’m now trolling the blogs to see what people out there are saying, and I’m starting an alphabetical read of all 40 — what the hell, right? I’ve read about half of them, but will re-read those as well, so I’m going to have some very pleasant times ahead.

One reason I’m doing it alphabetically by author is that the bright lights at CBC Canada Reads decided to alphabetize it by book title, counting THE as a word. My sense of order was so offended by this that I had to re-order it. I could not leave it the way it was. Maybe I’m too picky (I did create my own early version of the dewey decimal system for my books as a 10-year old geek girl), but you just can’t organize book titles and count THE as part of it. Holy Mother of all things Lexicographical, what school did Erin go to?

So, two Atwoods and an Abdou – the Bone Cage (which was listed waaaay down in the “T’s” instead of the freaking “A’s” where it belongs…. yikes. I’ll be reading Abdou’s book first, since it’s alphabetically FIRST (unless you do it by title, and count THE as part of it, which would just be silly).

Below, I have placed the alphabetized list of the Top 40 the way I would do it if I were my job to, I dunno,  alphabetize a frigging list of books. I’ve left the links to the reviews from Q&Q that the CBC crew put in there, but please just read the books. Or look around for more than one review (more than 140 characters would be useful).

1.      Abdou  The Bone Cage

2.      Atwood Oryx and Crake

3.      Atwood The Year of the Flood

4.      Benjamin Drive-by Saviours

5.      Boyden Three Day Road

6.      Boyden Through Black Spruce

7.      Buchanan The Day the Falls Stood Still

8.      Conlin Heave

9.      Crummey Galore

10.  Dixon The Girls Who Saw Everything

11.  Donoghue Room

12.  Fallis The Best Laid Plans

13.  Finucan The Fallen

14.  Gibb Sweetness in the Belly

15.  Gibson Pattern Recognition

16.  Glover Elle

17.  Grant Come, Thou Tortoise

18.  Harvey Inside

19.  Hay Late Nights on Air

20.  Hill The Book of Negroes

21.  Lawson Crow Lake

22.  Lemire Essex County

23.  MacDonald The Way the Crow Flies

24.  MacIntyre The Bishop’s Man

25.  Martel Life of Pi

26.  McKay The Birth House

27.  McKay Jr. Twenty-Six

28.  Moore February

29.  Novik Conceit

30.  O’Neill Lullabies for Little Criminals

31.  Pick Far to Go

32.  Redekop Shelf Monkey

33.  Robertson Moody Food

34.  Shields Unless

35.  Tamaki Skim

36.  Toews A Complicated Kindness

37.  Urquhart The Stone Carvers

38.  Vanderhaeghe The Last Crossing

39.  Whittall Bottle Rocket Hearts

40.  Wright Clara Callan