I Wanna Be Literated #189

I Wanna Be Literated #189

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Wednesday, 01 August 2018
BOOKS

David Sedaris
Calypso

I’ll tell you, the hardest thing I’ve had to do at this point in my life is buying a house. Stressful doesn’t quite begin to describe it, and that’s considering that I had it pretty easy. I was so green going into it and the process moved so quickly that I was constantly playing catchup, feeling like I was missing some important details or new obstacle kept presenting themselves. We need a what now? How much is this gonna cost? They need it by today? There’s nothing worse that being thrown to the complete mercy of expensive time consuming homeownership and knowing that you have no clue what’s going on. When my wife and I finally moved into our place there was the reality that we were going to live in complete chaos until we figured out how to use our new space, how to organize our things, or put massive amounts of money to upgrade our 100-year old home. All the mental stress then turned into physical stress as weeknights and weekends we essentially all furniture painting, moving boxes, unpacking boxes, and storing things. Our house went from looking like we had just moved in like we were seriously disorganized people.

We had a deadline to meet for our housewarming party and the goal was to at least have the living area presentable. So toil we did and our house started resembling the kind of place a family was living in. After the party we had no deadlines to meet and comfortably chose to maintain the mess at its current state until we mustered up the courage to continue the work on the upstairs area. These weeks we actually started enjoying our new house and mostly our downstairs area. We had persevered and we could celebrate with quiet evenings in the hot New England summer, drinking beers, cats on my lap and watching live streams of bears in Alaska catching salmon and reading David Sedaris’ Calypso. These were the good times people…

Sedaris’ appeal is that he knows how to write about the ordinary things in our lives. He knows what to highlight, where to find his jokes, where the hearts of the stories lie, and when to end them. I can’t remember much about his other books (except that I’ve enjoyed them all), but I think Calypso might be his best book yet. Maybe it’s the stories about Somerville (where we had coincidentally just moved to), or their new family beach house in North Carolina, or his new-found connection with his father, or the pants-shitting, or the proboscis monkeys, but Calypso’s stories just seem to resonate with me at this point in my life. There’s nothing extraordinary about them, they’re just extraordinarily good.

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