The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Much of the book describes the coping mechanisms of someone who probably has autism. One of his coping mechanisms is to do math in his head so he won't feel overstimulated in public places. One of my coping mechanisms not to get overstimulated in public places (ie, subway) is to read. So I was on the subway, trying not to get overstimulated, reading a book about someone who does math to not get overstimulated. Oooh, meta.
But also, the book is good enough that it took me beyond coping with the city, and into the realm of losing myself in a great character. I found it in a box I opened up that was labeled Jenny General Fiction. The first thing I saw in there was the beautiful edition of The Brothers Karamazov that my mother gave me for my last birthday she was alive for. Wikipedia tells me that it's about the ethical debates of God, Free Will, and Morality. I wouldn't know, because I haven't read it yet. The Brothers -- along with most of my good reading materials -- have been packed away for years. Unpacking boxes of books is full of incredible treasure and comfort and memory. Also, it's full of whatever it is to find a daunting Russian novel from my deceased mother. (Dauntingness? Daunt?) So I looked at the the Brothers, and I got daunted, and I reached for something smaller and more paperback, and I came up with the Curious Incident.
And I sat right down on the rug and started to read. No, I started to re-read. I re-met Christopher, and I re-met his father, and I re-met his wonderful teacher Siobhan, and I recalled that he hates yellow, and that he heats up his strawberry milkshakes, and that he does complicated maths in his head, and that a good day is when he sees four red cars in a row on the way to school, and a bad day is when he sees three red cars in a row, and a very bad day is when he sees four yellow cars in a row, in which case he doesn't talk to anyone, eat any food, or take any risks all day long. When a school psychologist (Mr. Jeavons) points out that this is not logical, Christopher responds:
May we all see four red cars in a row today on our way to wherever we are going.I said that some people who worked in an office came out of their house in the morning and saw that the sun was shining and it made them feel happy, or they saw that it was raining and it made them feel sad, but the only difference was the weather and if they worked in an office the weather didn't have anything to do with whether they had a good day or a bad day. Mr. Jeavons said that I was a very clever boy.