Last night I read the last 80 pages or so of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini I’m about 8 years off the mark with this one, but if you haven’t read it, you should. After The Book Of Negroes from last weekend, I was prepared for whatever book I read next to totally blow in comparison. I try not to compare books, to view each story in and of itself, to appreciate each author and their individual style, but I was coming into it fresh off a book that completely blew me away. I was skeptical as I read the first few pages – I have only a very limited knowledge of that part of the world (Afghanistan), just what we’ve seen on the news for the past 10 years, so picturing that place before war tore through, to erase in my mind the image that had already been ingrained, was difficult. But I powered through and it really only took 10 or 12 pages before I was hooked in the same gripping manner that I was with The Book Of Negroes. It was a painful and deeply disturbing read, but those are the stories I crave. Not that I enjoy human suffering, quite the opposite, but it is the raw human emotion attached to those stories that I seek out. A book that makes me bleed emotion is the only one worth reading, and one that stirs in me a better understanding and a greater respect for a people’s suffering, strength to endure, and necessary courage is a book I’ll pass on to my children. I have found two such books in as many weekends.
When I was finished, I put The Kite Runner back on my shelf, dug around for another one, and sat back on the couch. But I couldn’t dive in to something else so soon. I wanted the story to stick for a while. AH had turned on Disneynature’s Oceans, of which I’d been avoiding. Deep, dark water scares me. Large animals scare me. The sight of the seemingly unending water scares me. So I hadn’t watched it yet. But I was drawn in by the cinematography; it was beautiful and completely mesmerizing. And, after staring dumbfounded at the screen for an hour, when they began to show the tuna being netted, along with countless other creatures they referred to as waste – turtles, sharks, different species of fish – I got sad again. They showed a walrus teaching her baby how to swim. She was holding the young calf in her arms, just as we would hold our babies – hands, or flippers, under the bum, face held eye-to-eye. She gave her wee baby a kiss, right on the mouth, an undeniable kiss.
I have always been an animal lover, as I think most people believe they are, but what I find astounding is when a person believes that animals are lesser beings than we humans. I can’t even fathom where this way of thinking comes from. They clearly and overtly have feelings, the same as ours. They love their off-spring just as we do, they create homes and lives and have friends, they have moments of happiness, sadness, anger. My parent’s dog has developed depression since the loss of his inter-species sibling, Boomhauer. Actual depression requiring medication and extra love. As the documentary played on, AH and I were adding voices and conversations to the images of the sea-living creatures. There was one particularly badass shrimp who beat the hell out of a goddamn trespassing bastard of a crab who was sneaking around his crib. Ripped his claw right off. Trust me – the animal kingdom is EXACTLY like our human world. Just with less destroying the earth with our egos and stupidity. Oh, and they’re all naked.
Then we watched the Foo Fighters’ documentary, Foo Fighters: Back and Forth. I’ve always liked the Foo, but I wouldn’t have said I was anything more than a casual fan. I crank the radio when one of their songs come on, singing as loud as I can, bopping my head and drumming (very poorly) on my steering wheel, but I don’t own any of their cds (yes, I still do cds) and I couldn’t tell you, before last night, the names of any of the members, other than Dave Grohl and the drummer Taylor somethingorother. I hadn’t even realized that they’ve been around for 16 years. That blew my mind and made me feel very, very old. The film was fantastic because of how detailed and honest it was. It was told solely through the voice of the members, past and present. There was no gossip from former girlfriends, no friends of friends of friends spouting half-truths diluted through the grapevine. It was Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, and Chris Shiflett, as well as all the former members, telling it like it was and how it is.
I don’t know if I’d call myself more than a casual fan and occasional enjoyer of Foo music, even now, because between last night and this morning, I still don’t own any of their cds and I only knew the names of the members of the band because the film is so fresh in my mind, but I certainly enjoy them just as much, if not more, than I did. They are undeniably an amazingly talented band, collectively, and now, when I turn the radio up when their songs come on, I can recall who was in the band when they recorded that song and what they were going through at the time.
And, if nothing else, I am still giggling at the sight of Dave’s daughter interrupting a recording session to remind her father that he had promised her he would go swimming; cut to: him back in the studio with wet hair. Even with successful, seasoned rock stars, daddy’s little girl takes priority.