Losing the world when reading.

Today was the final tournament of SFUC. Yesterday, the tournament was a beach tournament, 5 on 5, because the fields were too wet to play on. As I wasn't particularly interested in playing beach ultimate, and neither was Kris, we stayed home and worked on the backyard, which is a jungle.

Getting up to go to the tournament was rough this morning, as we were getting up at 8:00 am! 8! Ugh. Still, we rolled out of the house at 8:30 and arrived at the fields at 9:30, just as the first games were getting started (1/2 an hour late).

My team won our first game (in pre-quarters), so we had a two round bye until the quarter-finals. Great. For someone who would rather be home sleeping, or at least just working in the back yard, this was a little torturous.

But only a little.

True to form, I had a book with me (The Reality Dysfunction, Part 2: Expansion), and read during the byes. I sat at the sideline of Kris' games (we managed to play only one of six rounds at the same time), so that I could watch him play. When he was on the field, I would watch. When he was on the sidelines, I would read. Worked out well.

At the end of the day, Kris asked me if I noticed when he was playing in the sunshine.


He went on to explain that, at one point when he was on the sideline next to me, he positioned himself so that he was casting a shadow over the book as I was reading. He then shifted back and forth to cause the shadow to flicker on the book as I read. Had I noticed?

I had not.

Not only had I not noticed his doing this at the time, I also disbelieved him when he told me he had done so.

So I told him about the first time I knew of when I didn't notice the world while I was reading. I was 11.

No surprise to anyone, I've been a bookworm my whole life. As near I as I can tell, I've always loved reading. So, when the family was all gathered in the family room (oh, to have a house big enough to have a separate living room and family room!), I would sometimes read when everyone else was watching TV (I still do this: "TV is a waste of time, but reading is productive!").

It was one of these evenings that, while I was reading (a Nancy Drew book, actually, probably borrowed from my friend Jenny), everyone in my family jumped up and ran out of the room.

I noticed the movement, and puzzled, stood up to follow them out of the house. Everyone was in the kitchen, which looked out over the front yard (which, as this image shows, is about 3/4 of an acre deep).

There used to be a huge tree at the very front of the yard, about 10 feet from the road. The tree trunk was about 3 feet in diameter, so it was a good sized tree. About once a year, someone would come around the curve too fast, stare at the tree as they came around the bend in the road, fixate on that tree, see nothing but that tree, and plow right into it.

This particular night, it was several young men (I don't recall the age, but I don't believe they were underage) who met the tree. They had been drinking (an open six-pack in the backseat), and driving. The driver came around the bend too fast and wrapped his car around the tree.

Turns out, the whole family heard the screech of tires and the loud crash of the car.

Except me.

I never heard the sounds. Our neighbors many many houses over came out to see what was going on. Some were over a quarter mile away and still heard the crash.

Not me.

My dad commented to his dad sometime after that how he wished he had the ability to block out the world when he read. He didn't understand how I did it. He was glad I had the ability to become absorbed in books, as it meant I could concentrate well. But he didn't understand the gift.

I related the story to Kris after he told me he had shifted his shadow while I was reading.

I never noticed.