Winter is coming. Winter warming supplies, lovingly termed booze, is dwindling. My favorite is the half bottle of Lagavulin 16 that I eye every time I walk past where it sits on my bookshelf, tempting me like an evil seductress, forcing me to make a tough decision.
Should I spend my limited money on books or another bottle of Lagavulin?
I am no Ron Swanson, but I really love the fiery, peaty, honey coloured liquid warming my throat on a cold day. No ice nor water thank you. No fancy glasses, no smooth music. Not even a fireside. Just me sitting on my uncomfortable kitchen chair, sipping on it and looking out the rear window onto the very interesting brick facade of the neighboring building. More on the rear building at some later time perhaps, where many fascinating and controversial slices of life play out.
So here is my dilemma. If I finish the bottle I will have to restock. And that costs money. Money that can go into buying a book! And hence the dilemma Books vs Lagavulin 16.
A quick made up list of priorities might help me resolve this rather first world problem.
Keeping Warm – The whiskey is an amazing option. But so is an engrossing read.
Portability – A paperback is much easier to carry around than a bottle of excellent whiskey I would think.
Consuming Quantity and Time- I am not sure about you but I can read longer and more than I can drink.
Hospitality Aide – Whiskey wins hands down. The few visitors I have are definitely not going to jump with joy if I open a book and say “Lets enjoy a nice book today!”.
And on a vote of 3 to 1 books win. Sigh! Looks like I might have to go easy on the whiskey and store my cash for a little reading. See? Nothing like a good old list of random criteria to decide if books win over whiskey.
Why do I see this as a first World Problem?
Notwithstanding the price of the bottle there are other reasons why I think this is a prime candidate. The luxury of time is inherent in the above problem. I do not even have to consider questions such as ‘am I allowed to drink?”, “can I do without either and just pick a book off the public library?” or “do I have space in my house for another of these?”
Growing up in a small town in India, books have always been a luxury for me. Oh yes, our family was by no means poor and in fact easily lived a luxurious life. But when we are kids we have little idea of the economics of our family and a timely dinner followed by ice cream is all it takes to think we lead a trouble free life. Even then I am pretty sure we lead a decent life. But there was not a single public library that I can remember. Either that or I was not allowed near one, which could very well have been the case. Public services in India, like toilets, libraries, buses were all for the poor. For the less privileged. These were not explicitly stated in my family nor strictly enforced. It was like the early morning ambient vedic chant from the radio. It just permeates the house in the background reminding one unconsciously of it’s presence.
All that seems so far back in time. When I look back I think I see a privileged kid’s life in an underdeveloped world filled with inequalities. A childhood shielded from gender and class sensitization, a boyhood focused on academics and adolescence preoccupied with economic stability.
But somehow books were always there. And parenting is never easy.