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Back when I heard about altered states of consciousness, the descriptions didn’t make a lot of sense to me until one of the books mentioned reading. Then it all became clear. That’s right: my drug of choice is print.

This has obvious implications that the kids figured out early on. I can be “told” or “asked” things while I am reading and make answering sounds, but it bypasses my usual judgment.

Last night, I experienced a different sort of repercussion. Brent recently finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and passed it along to me because it is set in Sweden. My intention had been to read it later, but he explained that he thought I might like to read about some of the places we’d be going, so I bumped it up the list (more accurately, the pile on the shelf of books to read). By bedtime, I was about halfway through and figured I’d read myself to sleep.

Bad plan. The book is a mystery and I got sucked in. I noticed nothing until I finished, sometime after midnight, which is well past my bedtime. My head hurt. I was feverish and hot. I was desperately tired, but also anxious. None of those things had presented themselves while my eyeballs were busy soaking up the drug. It took a while to get to sleep.

I suppose I could describe my state this morning as hungover. I’m tired and blurry, slightly headachy. And I am already wondering about my next hit.

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happy_potterer
Jul. 17th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
This is so me. To my loved ones' annoyance, I am in an altered state when reading and unless they wave a hand in my face and make eye contact, nothing I say is to be trusted. Like a sleepwalker, I sound coherent but will remember nothing, which is a problem when the conversation runs something like:

Long-suffering spouse: Don't forget, we're meeting up at my office at 6 tomorrow.
Amy, deep in book: Right.

Need I say what happens the next day?

After being awoken by an upset Indigo around 4:30 today, I knew I wouldn't get back to sleep without reading. Then I couldn't go to sleep until I'd finished the book (A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest Gaines). It was extremely moving and disturbing, and once I'd finished it, sleep was hopeless.

Despite my grandmother's admonitions, thought, reading doesn't bother my eyes; computers do that.

We could form a support group, but why bother? Neither one of us has the slightest desire to kick the habit.
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