There’s something about the winters that makes me procrastinate work without guilt, and it gets progressively worse when the day light savings end. The sun sets at five and by seven I am tucked inside a quilt watching my favourite mind-numbing shows and podcasts that bring less joy than they used to. Occasionally, I step out of the house, stroll around the neighbourhood, get coffee or tea and stare at skinny pets dressed in furry clothes.
The best thing to do then is to find a cozy cafe, where the espresso machine isn’t louder than the white-noise in my ears and where the baristas are friendly. The ones that don’t ask, “Can I get you something else?” every fifteen minutes. No miss, there are only so many bagels I can eat at once!
On the other side of the Plexiglass usually hangs a red sign that says, “Ouvert” underneath the word “Open”. That’s the only thing that catches my eyes, because some of these places are hidden gems. You can easily miss them, if there isn’t a bright red light shining in front of them.
I want to go to bars alone but the idea of walking inside a bar all by myself, sitting at the bar counter and chatting with the bartender is so daring and adventurous to me, that I have never been able to do it. Anxiety kicks in, apprehensions quantify, and I wonder what do to with my hands? Shall I put them on the counter, or in my pockets? Where does my coat go? Is it okay to just order a beer and nothing else? Are people looking at me? Why are people looking at me?
Cafes in equal contrast is a cakewalk. You don’t have the illusion of a spotlight on you. No one cares, everyone has a deadline to meet, an assignment to finish, a business meeting to facilitate. Everyone’s plugged into their earphones, everyone is disengaged yet focused and entertained.
I select the spatial audio and noise cancellation on my pods. That way, I don’t hear anything else and yet I have a sense of surroundings. I am fascinated by the technology that we have today. We are on the verge of a technological revolution so vast, we can’t even comprehend it right now. We are seeing glimpses of it, and it’s terrifying yet exciting at the same time. Neurologically speaking, there isn’t a difference between both the feelings, or so I am told.
I am on my 30th and 31st book of this year. One’s a crime thriller, the other’s a memoir. One’s on kindle, the other one’s on audible. The audible one is not just a book, it’s an entire performance with music and choirs and raps and sounds and things that you wouldn’t normally find in an audiobook. The crime thriller is bit of a drag tbh. I am through one third of it, yet it has failed to grip me. Hope it gets better. I picked it up because it was voted as one of the books for a book club I often attend. Lately, I have never been able to finish books on time. I blame it on the winter.
Now that the year is coming to an end, I don’t just want to share the count of all the content I consumed (just like every year) but share the value it brought me. I want to share my thoughts about all the books I read this year. It’ll be a lot of work, but I want to revisit the stories, the concepts, the messages. Remember the characters, the plots, the ideas and how each one made me feel.
I want to remember, re-read and relive them. I want to write about them one by one. I want to bring back my summer to these cold winter nights.