Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To run from the thing or to embrace the thing, that is the question, m’lord

Conversation between friend who is driving and and blogger who is, well, chatting shit.

'He got you a Kindle. You got him balloons. Can you see the discrepancy?
'He loved the balloons! I didn’t want a Kindle. What about that?'

Yea, so it arrived, finally, my two month overdue present.

The love of my life, who will assume I am being sarcastic in calling him that, bought me one for my birthday. The positive: I love the leather cover. It's a green -- grass, not olive -- and reminds me of Moleskine stationery that I don't buy because it's too expensive and I'm too cheap. The Kindle is, well, lovely too, sure.

So far, there are three books on it.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This boy has been trying to shove Douglas Adams down my throat forever but I've been holding out, even though I’ve been told by multiple people that it’s funny and clever and sarcastic and supposedly all things up my alley. Someday, after a huge fight, I might read it to win him back. Who knows? Till then, sorry, cannot and will not deal with science fiction.
  • Timbuktu, Paul Auster
  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, Laurence Sterne
I gave him a list – all Muriel Spark, Raymond Chandler, Jane Austen even. He’s uploading more books on it. I should be more excited, he tells me. But he told me that even when I was ho-hum about seeing that F1 race thing in Singapore last year and he was dying a little that he couldn’t.

Stop acting all cool and indifferent, it’s okay to be excited, no one will think less of you!

In simply owning a Kindle but not reading any of the stuff on it, it strikes me that every year my pretensions grow. Look how big you’ve become, I will say to my darling pretensions on my 32nd birthday. I might by then have been gifted a scuba diving helmet. It would lie in some corner of my house and I would look at it and be inspired to create untrue memories of being under the sea for curious guests who over the course of dinner might ask me why I have a rusted scuba diving helmet lying in that corner.

I haven’t started carrying the Kindle in my bag. I’m happy to flip pages of actual, physical paperbacks. I’m happy using bookmarks. I’m all on the side of the old book versus Kindle argument -- you need to feel the pages and smell the words. And I feel awkward at the idea of reading on a Kindle in the metro, which is where I usually read, en route to work. I will be totally conscious of curious kittys peering over my shoulder. It’s not polite to say shoo to human beings.

I don’t have an issue with the expensive gift. We’re past that. What I resent is the forced upgrade and the expectation that I should now switch full time to reading on a device. I resent the idea of pressing a button instead of turning a page. Also, and I thought about this, I’m somewhat overwhelmed by the increased number of gadgets in my possession since we began dating -- to say nothing of my awfully passive word choice in that sentence.

A pepper spray that I have never used doesn’t count. But I have a camera, a netbook, an android phone, an ipod touch (ok, this had nothing to do with him), and now a Kindle, in addition to a whole bunch of mangled wires – all because I’m influenced by the geek. All have not been presents, lest you take me for a greedy cow. Resistance might stem from the fact that I used to be the kid who didn’t want a TV in her room because it looked ugly.

Do I deserve a slap for being an ingrate? Probably. Do I even deserve a present after doing full break up drama right before my birthday? Probably not.

But given that he got me a camera for my last birthday, I’d have loved a non-tech present this time. Book ends? Bath salts? Something on the lines of earrings and that pendant like the year before last? A bare-your-soul letter written in the calligraphy you’ve been practicing? (in a meek voice: all of the above?)

Evidently, I’m not over the moon; right present, wrong person. Still. Maybe I should shut up. It is totally plausible that this yet-another-gadget just takes getting used to. And I do like the green cover. That was a good call. You’re right -- I could not have done pink every day.

Here’s the tricky part though. And if gadget guru didn’t want one, this dilemma wouldn’t exist. But the question is: does one return the Kindle to the boy since he is who wanted one for himself, and will hands down enjoy the damn thing more than I will (in which case, do I put in an application for a substitute present or let that pass because I’ve been a bitch, a thankless, callous, and altogether calculating one at that)? Or does one keep the Kindle, even though I might always prefer a book and a nice glass and wood book case, simply because it is after all a(n expensive) birthday gift from the alleged love of my life that might yet turn out to be the coolest gadget I own?


Perakath said...

Would he take it back, though?

Anonymous said...

For someone who eagerly follows your blog – this post is a very pleasant coincidence, it being in complete concordance with a mental debate carried out, just yesterday! Only difference – nobody gifts me a Kindle :(

Now that you have one fallen right in your lap, I’d say, give the thing a fair chance (green cover looks great held in the hands) – though nothing really can ever replace the joy of buying a book. I,for one, take great delight in running my hand up its back to feel that smooth texture, admiring its cover picture,reading the excerpt on the inner panel to finally place it proudly on the bookshelf. Another gem added to the collection.

I have my own doubts whether it would be enjoyable enough to read a book on a flat screen - adding another reason for me to wear my nerdy AR coated glasses :/

I couldn’t help but leave a comment. Loved the way you put most of it. Let us know how the Kindle fared after all !

The.Mystic said...

Paper books are much better, if you're not gonna use it give it back to the boy. Let him enjoy it, you go get some paperbacks and hard bounds.

Nimpipi said...

Pera: Take it back he would. May not use it though. Think I'll just suck it up and start liking it.

August: Hello then, new person. The 'eagerly' is sweet. Kindness is you. The wisdom of hindsight tells me that was a unfair post. I will be sweet and gush in the next. That's my stand of hour.

Myst: Haina. That's what I thought. Kindle can wait till I have to disappear on hypothetical fellowships for 6-6 months where to I cannot carry bori bistra full of hardbacks. Check back with me, though, will you, while I go reply to your comment on the last post that I forgot all about!

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Technology was supposed to set us free. Now look at you. A big bag full of gadgets that require your attention.

I'll always prefer to hold a book in my hand. I'm too old to change. Don't want to.

So much Western literature! Can you at least throw some Jumpa Lahiri in there?

Nimpipi said...

Ub: see, that's the thing, I have enough indian stuff on my piddly bookshelf. Why bother with e books? Ruskin Bond= author after my own heart.

Thanatos said...

I'd be very annoyed if my lady returned something I gave her. *Very*. And I'm sure many of us would feel the same. Would recommend seeking consolation in the time honored "thought that counts" and populating bookshelf with gifts to self. I love the gifts I buy myself, I always seem to know what I want.

Anonymous said...

hello there thanks for your grat post, as usual ((o:

Mayonnaise Toss said...

I cant read for too long from a PC. I cant handle the way the iphone simulates the page turning touch motion thing. I like to cut out handmade paper bookmarks and scribble my name on the 2nd page of the book. I like falling asleep with the book tossed next to the pillow. I know how u feel for books. But he is mighty nice to get you the kindle. Maybe we all should just suck it up and accept the new fangled things of technology, no? Ah. I feel so old.

Nimpipi said...

Than: After reading your comment, I want the earth to swallow me up. I have the cheek to agree with you even. DARE anyone, well, boyfriend-type anyone return a present to me! Gifts will be broken. Damage will be done. And yet, and YET. I fear your reaction. Imagine if I said I want boots instead? To the slaughterhouse, is it? Damn.

Anon : hello there to you too, and thank you. Sweet. You aren't spam though, are you? Ever since I turned on this comment moderation crap, I get the strangest anon comments. Narcissism involved in letting yours through. Just sayin'

Mayo: I'm pretty sure you can turn off that motion simulator thing on your iphone. Bring it to this mighty nice guy of me, he can 'freeze orientation', I believe it's called, and perform sundry other miracles. I have to show you this new toy one of these days. Unless by then I've traded it in for a more bimbo present.

The Bald Guy said...

Keep it. Use it.


Anonymous said...

I can so relate!

Recently I got gifted a ipod shuffle from my bf, and all i could think about is how i don't even want an ipod in the first place, and 2ndly, how if he gifts me an ipod, the least he could do is to make it an ipod touch!

seemed kinda cheap to go with 2nd best..

i suppose now we both deserve slaps for being ingrates!

i guess the problem is, you already have an idea of what you want fr him.. and we tend to gift others what we ourselves would like to receive.

Nitika said...

You'll get used to it. I got used to e-paper. Something I thought would never happen.

Think about all the trees, the environment blah blah.

Have fun.


Here In Franklin said...

I love my Kindle and can't wait to pack for my next overseas trip next month--I'll simply slip the Kindle full of unread books into my backpack instead of loading it down with three or four heavy paperbacks.

Also, I think giving it back would be downright cruel.