I nodded off. My head just nearly hit the table with a thud. Thankfully I was able to gather myself and the patrons of the coffee shop were not forced in to first aid action. I was reading another of those thriller mysteries and could not put it down. I had become inseparable from the hero of the story and had been reading for 5 hours straight with no comprehension of time. My coffee was now cold, my legs were numb from hanging over the side of the chair and I was disoriented. It was dark outside! Oh my, I had forgotten dinner plans; stood up my friends, failed to go by the cleaners for clothes I needed the next day, and now I was sitting in the coffee shop in a stupor.
I took a deep breath, looked around, and stood to excuse myself to the ladies room before attending to the “real” areas of my life. When I stood, my toes felt like a million needles were pricking them so I quickly sat back down and began jostling my legs about to wake them from their slumber. As I was doing this I was able to awaken my brain to the world around me so that i did not appear drunk as I made my way to the ladies room. After a few minutes, I stood ever so slowly, grabbed my bag and plodded off to the restroom where it was necessary that I splash cold water on my face before making the trek home.
I stepped out on to the sidewalk. Street lights were glowing on the pools of fresh rain water on the surface of the walkway. I had not even realized it rained. As I made the 2 block walk to the car I began to reflect upon the events of the book I had just completed and imagined myself walking along the dark street in the middle of the night. I could feel the hot breath of the protagonist on the back of my neck. I trotted the last half block to the car and upon getting in, I locked the doors in a near panic.
What a great book. It made me lose time, and even touch with reality. I experienced fear, excitement, anticipation and finally when the story reached its’ conclusion, I was exhausted and ready for the next expertly woven tale of mystery, murder, and science fiction.
Reading a good book can take you to what feels like a different time, even a different world. A good book is a cathartic escape from the doldrums of day to day living. If I were not bound by responsibilities, I would likely escape in a good book much more often than I am able to escape today. But, would I enjoy the escape so much if I weren’t bound by responsibilities?