Kalau Terjadi Kebakaran

“Kalau kebakaran, apa yang akan kamu selamatkan terlebih dulu?” tanyanya tiba-tiba.
“Ha?” hanya itu yang bisa keluar dari bibirku yang sedang terselip sebatang wafer Astor, jajanan kesayangan sedari kanak-kanak.

Di sofa teras belakang rumah.
Ia asik browsing sementara aku tenggelam dalam pusaran waktu Audrey Niffenegger.

Diulanginya kembali pertanyaannya tadi.
“Hmm.. Apa ya?” buku tebal itu kuletakkan di atas dada dalam keadaan terbuka, pada halaman yang sedang kubaca.
“Ngga boleh lama-lama mikirnya. Kamu hanya punya waktu 5 menit.” ucapnya membalik badan menatapku dengan kacamata minusnya yang sering kusebut ‘kaca muka’. Katanya model seperti itu sedang ‘in’. Apapun.
“Oke. Berapa banyak item bolehnya?” tanyaku sengaja, membeli waktu berpikir lebih lama.
“Sebanyak yang kira-kira sanggup kamu ambil dan bawa dalam 5 menit itu lah.”
“Oke. Pertama, si Ranma.”
“Ranma? Kucing itu nalurinya kuat, ia pasti sudah kabur menyelamatkan dirinya duluan. Nanti kamu buang-buang waktu buat nyariin dia malah.”
“Bener juga. Oke. Oke.”
“Jangan ‘oke’.”
“Baiklaaah..”
“Baik. Terus apa, dong?”
“Hard Disk external, iPhone, tas selempang kulit dari Mama, poster Carok, foto keluarga, ijazah-ijazah, passport, akte tanah. Udah!” aku menyeringai lebar, puas dengan jawabanku.
“Hmmm…” sahutnya hanya untuk kembali membelakangiku lalu konsen pada laptopnya.
“WOI!!” kutoyor kepalanya.
“Apaan sih?” gantian ia yang menyeringai.
“Trus? Apa artinya?” desakku.
“Ngga ada arti apa-apa. Aku cuma pengen tau aja.” ucapnya kalem.
“Oke,–”
“Baik.” koreksinya lagi.
“BAAAAAIIIIIKKKK! Kalau kamu?”
“Aku? Denger baik-baik ya. Karena aku hanya akan menyebutkannya sekali.” ia lalu memejamkan mata seraya menarik nafas dalam-dalam.
Aku memasang telinga yang sejak lahir sudah terpasang. Alhamdulillah.
Setengah menit berlalu dalam hening. Tanpa sadar, aku sampai menahan napas menunggu jawabannya.
“Heh, katanya ngga boleh lama-lama jawab–”

“Kamu dan barang-barang tak tergantikanmu itu.”

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Rory Gilmore’s Books

I normally don’t like people telling me what to read. But this here is an exception. Just a few days ago I was thinking, “Damn, I miss the Gilmore Girls.” and here I found a list of books Rory was seen toting, holding or reading. I dare you to mention how many of them you’ve read. :D

• A Month Of Sundays by Julie Mars

• The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

• Small Island by Andrea Levy

• My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

• A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall

• My Life in Orange by Tim Guest

• Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett

• The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

• The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby

• How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer

• The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson

• Nervous System by Jan Lars Jensen

• The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer

• The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

• How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland

• Oracle Night by Paul Auster

• Quattrocento by James McKean

• The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan

• Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

• Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi

• Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

• The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

• The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem

• Old School by Tobias Wolff

• The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

• The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

• The Bielski Brothers by Peter Duff

• Brick Lane by Monica Ali

• Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

• The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

• Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

• The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht

• Property by Valerie Martin

• Rescuing Patty Hearst by Virginia Holman

• The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

• Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

• The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander

• Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito

• Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

• Fat Land : How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser

• Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

• Unless by Carol Shields

• Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

• When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

• Songbook by Nick Hornby

• Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

• Extravagance by Gary Krist

• Empire Falls by Richard Russo

• The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker

• Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

• A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

• The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

• Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

• Life of Pi by Yann Martel

• The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

• The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

• The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

• The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

• Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

• Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

• The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

• A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

• Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

• Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

• Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

• Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov

• The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

• David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

• The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

• Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

• One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

• Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia De Burgos by Julia De Burgos

• The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

• Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

• Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

• The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

• Night by Elie Wiesel

• The Code of the Woosters by P. G. Wodehouse

• Hamlet by William Shakespeare

• Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe

• Beloved by Toni Morrison

• A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

• A Separate Peace by John Knowles

• Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

• Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

• The Story of My Life by Helen Keller

• The Awakening by Kate Chopin

• Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

• Time and Again by Jack Finney

• Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

• The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

• Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

• Sybil by Flora Schreiber

• Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

• Cousin Bette by Honore De Balzac

• Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

• Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

• The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

• The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

• Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

• Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

• The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

• 1984 by George Orwell

• The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

• The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

• An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

• Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

• Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

• Lord of the Flies by William Golding

• The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

• The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

• Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

• The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

• The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner

• The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

• The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

• Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

• Emma by Jane Austen

• On The Road by Jack Kerouac
• The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

You Should Date an Illiterate Girl.

For all the overachieving girls out there, beware!
You should date an illiterate girl.

Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in a film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love. Fuck her.

Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship. Find shared interests and common ground like sushi and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale or the evenings too long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.

Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.

Let the years pass unnoticed. Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return or as if you might blow away on the wind. Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.

Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent of a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, goddamnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so goddamned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life of which I spoke at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being told. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. Or, perhaps, stay and save my life. *

Charles Warnke (via : http://jarrodis.tumblr.com/post/12462602154/you-should-date-an-illiterate-girl-date-a-girl )