What Was With the Brown Guy on the Motorcycle?

November 18, 2009

Here's a partial list of things that I used to do before I had a kid:

  • Read books
  • Go to movies
  • Exercise (occasionally)
  • Sleep in my own bed with my wife or in the guest room by myself (dogs not included)
  • listen exclusively to music that didn't reference farmers, peanut butter, or turning oneself around
  • Eschew pop tarts
  • Go sit at local bars to meet and bullshit with my neighbors
  • Maintain a clean house for up to two days at a time
  • Post regularly to my blog

In the case of lost luxuries, there are substitutes, and one learns to make do. For example, instead of movies, there are television shows with plots that have conflict and resolution all wrapped up in a tidy hour. Instead of exercise, there's getting winded from hauling toys up and down one's own staircase.

Instead of reading, I've mostly switched to audiobooks. This evening, I was shopping for books, and one of the recommendations was The English Patient. I remember seeing the movie -- back when I did such things -- and I found it long, boring, and baffling. I've since thought that it must be a good book, and those who knew the story from the book were the ones who were able to follow and enjoy the movie.

I clicked on the link, and as I always do, I checked out the listener ratings and comments. The first one read, "Not as good as the movie," and gave it three stars. Most of the others were more highly rated and more complimentary, but that was enough to keep me from pulling the trigger.

But I wonder, could it be that someone who actually liked the movie was a nutcase? And if so, shouldn't I disregard that person's comments and take stock in the others' comments instead? Or could it be that the book is more boring and baffling than the movie? I don't need help falling asleep -- I need somewhere for my mind to go while I walk the dogs through the same neighborhood night after night.

If you've read or listened to The English Patient, I'd love to hear what you thought. Any others that you would highly recommend?