I just managed to unplug from work for five straight days. It was wonderful. I was visiting my mom and Al for a few days and it was a blessing in disguise that their house seems to be the black hole of TMobile coverage.
My plan was to plug in Sunday night on my return and get back up to speed. But in the end, I decided that Monday morning would be soon enough. Here it isTuesday afternoon and a few hundred emails later, I'm finally dug out. If I'm not exactly back to full pace yet, I can at least speak relatively intelligently about most of the ongoing tasks and topics. It is strange to think that our parents would never have dreamed of the 24x7 connection to the workplace we now have. To be fair, there is also a bleed over of personal activities into the workplace - mostly thanks to the internet, email, and cell phones.
I didn't have the chance to go through full technology withdrawal though. I helped my Mom sort out the myriad of options in Kodak Easy Share and automated as much as I could of the process of digital camera to digital album storage. But the best technology remained my iPod. While at times the iPod can sit in my purse for weeks without use, when I travel, it is my best friend.
While driving the 5+ hours up and 5+ hours back, I was mesmerized by a single Audio Book - The Help by Kathryn Stockett. What an incredible story. By the end of my 10 hours of driving, I wasn't quite through with the book, but I had picked up a hint of a southern drawl and was using the word y'all a lot. I was so captivated by the story that I ended up plugging in and listening for another 3 hours Sunday night as I lay in bed anticipating a Monday morning return to the grind.
I can't get the characters out of my mind and I'm recommending it to everyone I know so I can talk to people at length about Skeeter, Minnie, and Abeline...not to mention the 'terrible awful', Miss Celia, Miss Hilly, and May Mobley. I think I'll go purchase the book as well because I feel like there are definitely lines of text to be underlined, page corners to be turned down, and passages to be read and re-read until they are imprinted on my brain.
Everyone knows that movie adaptations of books are akin to ripping the heart and soul out and trying to piece it together again in a 1.5 hour version. And there are times when I wonder if Audio books are a cheat to actual reading. Can you possibly absorb the story into yourself in the same way? After a few years of listening to some incredible stories being read to me by talented individuals in an intimate private performance, I can now definitively answer that question. Yes.
Minnie's full-bodied voice and "sass" came through strong and true. Abeline's soft wisdom and love was also totally authentic. Miss Skeeter's youth and naivete and struggles embodied the author's descriptions from her frizzy yellow hair atop her tall frame, to her frantic tapping at the typewriter. And the way May Mobley was spoken just brought to life a young unspoiled girl ready and willing to be molded by the women around her.
In the interest of public safety, however, I must disclose that this book got to me on such a level that I was wiping tears away for about an hour on the drive....so just consider your ability to absorb emotional material while operating heavy machinery.