Every night after the babies have gone to sleep and I’ve written my blog post, I get in bed and check email on my iphone. It sounds wrong just writing it. I’ve had a smart phone for less than a year but already I’m disturbingly addicted.
Happily, yesterday for the first time since the twins were born ten months ago I started a novel, Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. I’d pulled it off the bookshelf earlier in the day when I had a moment during baby nap time and read just a couple pages–enough to get hooked. So last night when I climbed in bed, it was with my book.
The babies were peacefully asleep, the house quiet, and in the pages of the book I was transported away from these walls, which surround me day after day, and to New York at the turn of the century. Grand Central Station, and Ms. Lily Bart all bright rustling silk amidst the drab summer crowd. Mr. Selden spots her and they set out in a hansom for a cup of tea.
Lily Bart is troubled, but her problems are not my problems. Her concerns are completely absorbing and engrossing, but they are her concerns. For those moments turning the pages in the quiet house, there was nothing else but Ms. Bart smoking a cigarette in Mr. Selden’s dark, comfortable library, and tea and cake being served by a beautiful lady in a lurching railway car. How delicious. How different from the Internet, which is less a portal to another world and more a black hole of insecurity about this one.
This afternoon when I got back from my walk both babies were asleep. Excitedly I parked the stroller and ran to get my book. But it wasn’t the same. I kept waiting for the babies to wake any second, looking up to check on them, which was too distracting. I couldn’t really escape.
Tonight, though, it’s back to Lily Bart. Internet and iPhone, you have nothing on good fiction.