I wasn’t supposed to have a Kindle.
I had all my reasons for standing by actual books as everyone else abandoned them for newer technology. I was never going to slip to the dark side of e-readers. Yeah, I carried The Emancipator’s Wife (hardcover) to and from work on the metro for weeks and never once thought it would just be easier to use a Kindle.
Last year I got Hugh a Kindle for his birthday. I put my opinions aside and decided that even though I could never use a Kindle, Hugh would probably really like having one.
Occasionally I was jealous of the ease with which he picked up new books. He never had to go into the public library or a book store. And while reading before bed he never had to balance an unwieldy book with his hands while also trying to stay under the covers.
My coworkers effortlessly toted their Kindles to and from work, finishing a book and picking up a new one before I could even find a copy of the first one. On our beach trips, everyone but me was happily reading their Kindle reclined in their beach chairs while I was struggling to keep a magazine alive in the humidity.
I’m not saying I felt left out. No, that wasn’t it. Lately, though, I did start to wonder what I was missing. I thought maybe Hugh would pick up on that (somehow, without me ever expressing it even remotely) and surprise me with a Kindle for my birthday in November. He got me some new Toms instead. A week later he was reading his Kindle on our flight to San Francisco as I was thumbing through SkyMall, and I began to drop hints that I didn’t want a Kindle but if I happened to receive one as a gift I would probably end up liking it. Probably.
For Christmas, Hugh gave me a really thoughtful gift — perhaps the best in our Christmas history — and I was happy that he didn’t get me a Kindle instead.
But then Christmas passed and I still didn’t have a Kindle. The Kindle and I, it wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t supposed to have a Kindle.
Then, my luck changed.
In the middle of January, we went to my company’s holiday party. As has been standard for the past four years, there were appetizers, open bars, dinner buffet, dancing, and door prizes. Before dinner, several people won gift cards to various restaurants and amazon.com. Hugh was jealous of the girl who won an amazon gift card because anything we need, he will buy from amazon if possible. He has bought raisin bran from amazon before. Not kidding.
After dinner, the dance floor filled up with some actual dancing, some awkward interactions, and a lot of Cupid Shuffle. As this continued, the crowd started to trickle out and the party shrank considerably in the last hour of the night. We’d had no intention of staying past dinner, but what can I say? I’m a sucker for a line dance.
We were in the photo booth when the last door prizes of the night were being announced. For each one, the announcer called names of people who’d long since left the party and continued pulling names until someone was called that was still present. This is how my coworker won a Kindle Fire.
I wandered back to excitedly congratulate her and the next thing I know her husband was handing me the Kindle Fire. Since they both already had one, they had no need for an extra and now I, staunch supporter of actual books, owned a Kindle.
I opened it and logged into my Amazon account as soon as we got home that night. I plugged it in to charge and immediately started browsing for books to download. Finding the whole thing overwhelming, I downloaded a few freebies including Wuthering Heights with which I have a long and storied past. I texted around for some book recommendations, settled on Gone Girl, conceded my $12.99, and read it in four days. (It was good, but the ending… meh.)
Now I’m trying to catch up on all those books everyone else has read in the last few years that were always checked out of the library when I finally heard about them. I’m currently borrowing Water for Elephants from the same coworker who so graciously gave me the Kindle. Side note: you can loan books from kindle to kindle. Mind blown.
I wasn’t supposed to have a Kindle.
But now that I do, I am officially in love and I think the Kindle and I have a long, happy life ahead of us.