As regular computer users will know, it takes some time for computers to boot up after you press the power button. It also takes time for some websites to load. Stare at the screen waiting for things to load gets annoying. (Without exception, every new convenience brings with it it’s own annoyances.) So, what do you do to pass the time?
I forget about the computer, look away, and read a book. “Take your time,” I’m saying to the computer with as much understanding as possible. “I’ll enjoy something else.” I purposefully avoid reading anything long or difficult to follow (like Dostoyevsky’s “Demons”) because these little windows of time are sporadic and disjointed. But I also avoid whatever magazines I have laying around because that just feels like I’m wasting time. After trying a bunch of things, I found fairy tales to be the best material.
Right now I’m reading Collected Fairy Tales Of England, Scotland, and Iceland. I found it on the family book shelf, and as I read it little bit by little bit it got more and more interesting, and my short reading sessions added up until I couldn’t put the thing down. It was originally published in 1954 and the writing comes across as old-fashioned, which is perfect for a fairy tale:
“A long, long time ago, there was an old man and an old woman. They lived in a small house next to a small river. They were cheerful as could be, and never complained about anything. They had a house, a garden, two healthy cows, five hens, and one rooster. They also had an old cat and two kittens. They felt like they had everything they ever needed.”
This sort of beginning to a story really sets the mood, huh? It makes you excited to see what sort of story will unfold, even if your days of being a little kid are long behind you. But in this story the focus quickly shifts to follow a character named “Little Pastry” and we never hear about the grandpa and grandma again. It breaks the normal pattern of a fairy tale and leaves our two main characters behind. It’s a really strange story. This structural oddity plagues the story and stopped me from getting that into it.
Flipping through the pages of a book of fairy tales while you wait for your computer feels great. Sometimes I’ll keep reading even after the computer has booted up. If you’re wondering about Little Pastry Boy and what fate he met, give the book a read for yourself.