A Warning

(June, 2014)

 

WARNING! Do not  date a bookworm.

(An attempt to explain myself in so few words)

 

Dating a bookworm is impossible.

Don’t date her.  You will never know what to say when she gushes out things like “Oh gods, I can’t wait for Rick Riordan’s Doors of Death!” Or when she asks you what you think of Haruki Murakami or Edgar Allan Poe.

Don’t date her. Her mind is like the maze in that Harry Potter book, constantly changing and ever so full of pits and flowers and holes and goodness knows what else. She is as stable as the crow is white. And she will seldom make sense to you even when she thinks she does. And that sometimes she will think you are a kill-joy ignoramus for not being able to play along. Your patience will be tested, really.

Don’t date a bookworm. She will probably spew out words like “sitzplinker” or “kafir” or whatever new word she happened to stumble over in a new novel she’s raving about and that she will not give it a second thought whether or not it’s okay to drop those out-of-this-world words in a pretty ordinary conversation you have about how your day went. Suddenly the mundane exchange of how are yous?  at night has evolved into debates of whether or not you understand her or at least try to.

Don’t date her. She will never be normal. Everyday she’ll turn the pages just to feel that sense of wonder that comes from being able to experience other people’s lives through reading about them and their adventures. You will not feel so confused in all your life as much as you will be with her as she will probably want to do things a little differently than you’re used to, like having unbirthday celebrations, the Alice in Wonderland way or celebrating St. Swithin’s Day on every fifteenth of July like in One Day. She will want to braid her hair like Katniss’s, or write mushy love letters like Emma Bloom. You will never know what kind of girl she’ll try to be after the end of each story she gets caught up with.

Don’t date a bookworm. A simple gesture like, say, a yellow flower you give her on your monthsary might mean a lot of things as she is fond of metaphors and is always trying to draw out meanings out of the littlest of somethings. You might get all exasperated when she bombards you with questions like why yellow, and why this type of flower blah blah blah.

Reality can wear a different coat when you’re around her. She’s got a fine line between what’s real and what’s make believe. Should she ever try to sweet talk you into missing your stop and remaining in your seat on the bus all the way to the southernmost tip of Cebu while she declares “road trip”, you’d better find a way of letting her down softly. Say your money’s not enough to pay for the fare. And don’t forget to promise her a cheerful “let’s roadtrip next time!”

Don’t date her.  It’s just impossible. But if you ever find yourself shaking your head at all these warnings while saying to yourself it’s too late and that you’re too deeply involved already, I say you keep in mind the next words I will tell you.

Never date a bookworm but if you must, then the only way to go about it is by loving her.

Choose to love her and then it won’t be so hard.

Everything she does weirdly, consider it a perk. Everytime she has to be sad because this and that happened in a story or that a John or a Jane died because of whatever sudden, unnatural plot some author concocted, consider it a sneak-peek on how she feels and thinks. It’ll be like picking around through her mind without having to go through the pains of pressuring her into telling you everything inside her guts. Everytime she tries to pester you into reciting Lang Leav’s new poem to her, consider it her sweet way of letting you know you could do something about your forever wanting to be able to relate to her. And in return, she will learn to play your favourite computer games or understand all your weird fetishes. Oh she will try so hard to know the secret code of basketball terminologies just so she knows what you’re about when you yell things while both of you watch NBA on the telly.

You could always meet each other in the middle where all the differences intersect to form some kind of connection. That is, if you try.

You don’t just date a bookworm, you choose to love her. Dating can be so easy, you can take off at any moment you fancy, thinking: no matter how much of a keeper she might be, it’s just not worth the trouble and the drama and all other hassles connected to being together with a virtual train wreck slash perpetually changing maze slash multipolar kind of girl.

Understand that to her words are art, art is love and that love is life. She can never be without her books. Should you find her calling in the middle of the night or some other ungodly hour, know that she just needs someone to talk to or more like someone to listen to her, probably because of the inevitable end of a book she’s just experienced or some internal battle she’s waging against herself. But it’s nothing to fret about; everything will be calm in the morning.

It can be tricky though. Sometimes she can get a bit distant. You see her with a smile on her face and the next minute she’s got a faraway look in her eyes. But you never have to worry. By reminding her that you’re there and that she isn’t completely and utterly alone, she will always find a way back to you.

You will definitely encounter a whole range of other unexplainable things but if you choose to love her then by Jove, she’s going to give you adventures only a bookworm can think of: like spur-of-the-moment trips to backwater towns like Colin and Lindsey had or a dance in the rain like Katie and Vince or a sudden impulse to go biking in the park at twelve PM or a night-long movie marathon of Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars, complete with popcorn bathed in chocolate syrup and generously margarined bread plus homemade milk tea.

Forget cliché where boy pays for girl at dinner dates all the time. She’d probably try going Dutch once in a while or perhaps even pay for you some time. And you can kiss your notion of girls forever doing the household chores like washing the dishes or cooking or sweeping the floors goodbye because she’ll be all about “subverting the patriarchal paradigm” and you do not want to argue about that with her. Trust me, you just don’t. Should you catch yourself thinking why she doesn’t like soap operas or high heels or doesn’t wear even a smudge of make-up like all the other girls do, you’d better not say that out loud with her around. Normal is just about the highest insult you can give her. She’d probably laugh at you and afterward tell you with a huge scoff and in the most contemptuous tone that ‘normal is boring’.

Being loved by a bookworm gives you a front-row seat at one of the longest shows called life. She will try never to do things by half, meaning she’ll give everything she has to live a life that’s beautiful as she can imagine it to be. If you haven’t learned how to live, with her you’ll catch up in no time because she will bring into that world she’s trying to create. It’s not all rainbows and ponies, mind you. There are shadows too. And the oracle of Delphi kind of nightmares. But she knows that yin is pointless without yang. Or that a little dark is needed to see the light.

You will soon learn that there is so much more to discover, so many places more to go and only so little words to describe them and the wonder and beauty of it all. If you love a bookworm and she loves you, then you better snap the seatbelts into place. You will have the ride of a lifetime.

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