The weekend is upon us! For the childless this could bring…well, any number of possibilities. The sky is limit if you don’t have children. You might go see a movie. Go to dinner. Go for a relaxing twilight walk. Sip spritzers starting at 2pm (are spritzers permissible before Memorial Day, asks the woman in white pants.). You could travel to India and back in a weekend – I don’t know why you’d want to, but the point is that you could! You could be dangerous and reckless and drive motorcycles and throw knives and swear endlessly.
If you do have kids then your nighttime routine becomes more pedestrian. Knife throwing may be involved but you’re likely an unwitting target. Movies will be watched On Demand after children retreat. Dinner will be eaten standing by the sink as you lick remnants from their plates before placing in the dishwasher. Twilight walks occur only if a child slips out the front door undetected. And, in that case, I think ‘manhunt’ is what the local authorities call it.
Or you could do what my husband and I do on weekend nights, when we are bound to the house and relegated to near noiseless activities after the children fall asleep.
I know, weird, right? Books. With paper pages. That you have to turn – not scroll – from right to left.
But, get this, we don’t just read. I actually read. He listens. I read books aloud. I’ve already been ridiculed and maligned by coworkers and friends for this ‘bizarre’ activity. I defend myself by saying it’s strangely satisfying. And since I’ve got no patience or ability for crossword puzzles and Apples to Apples fails to be fun with one other person, it’s changed our weekend dynamic. And, as a person who whiled away much of my childhood with Ramona and Beatrice and the Babysitters Club, I love that I’m able to tell a room full of people at the once-a-year cocktail party I attend that I have in fact read A book recently.
Here are the other advantages:
If you’re a mom, you’re already reading aloud nightly. This is your chance to read something above a Pre-K reading level. And without saying “Goodnight” to everything in the room…If you’re a blogger, you’re accustomed to hearing the sound of your voice editing your posts before they go ‘live’. You are soothed by your own voice…Unlike watching a movie, you’re in total control of the ‘pause’ function to get food, go to the bathroom, or talk spontaneously about the annoying thing that happened at work…If playing games as irritating as Sodoku can stave off dementia, then I insist that reading aloud can, as well. But just in case I’m wrong, you might want to keep doing the crosswords.
And the hands-down best thing about reading aloud to your mate:
It is the only time they will listen to what you are saying.
There are some disadvantages:
Choosing a book to commit to is chief among problems. We read the Twilight series because of the vampire-love compromise. But if G had carte blanche to choose our books, I’d be reading anything by Dan Brown and the guy that writes those spy movies Harrison Ford stars in…Eroding your voice from so much overuse that you begin to sound like Kathleen Turner. And not in Romancing the Stone but in Marley & Me…The only thing worse than watching sexually explicit scenes with your partner is READING THEM ALOUD. I’d recommend skipping The Lovely Bones as the criminal rape of young girl is best read privately. Or not at all…Incessantly being faulted for failing to ‘bring the book’ on car trips as short as the local market. We usually have our hands full with children while our husbands honk the horn and wave their arms wildly in the air…The reader never can match the listener’s level of Zen since the second we start to relax, we’re told to stop mumbling…Noticing that your husband seems to be focusing on his Blackberry instead of your words. This is where you have to insert scenes that should never come up in context. For example, “As Margaret leaned in for a kiss…she shouted, ‘Beware of the flying blood-sucking Tom Cruise!!!” If they don’t react or mutter, ‘Hmmm….interesting…Tom Cruise,” they’ve stopped listening.
The worst thing about reading aloud to your guy is:
Realizing you’ve been reading aloud to a person who has been asleep for the last 45 minutes.
You know what? On second thought, maybe you should just pop in a DVD. Reading may be overrated. Everyone knows it’s crosswords that stave off dementia.