Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Back when I lived in Austin, Texas, I had the opportunity of encountering one of the strangest and most intriguing persons I’ve ever known.

Her name was Carolyn and she was a friend of a friend of mine. The two of them had known each other since they were both kids in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Anyway, Carolyn was about 25 years old, had long red hair, was a little overweight and, aside from reminding me of Morris the Cat, was a rather plain looking individual.

Here’s the strange thing about Carolyn: She was a bona-fide recluse.

Here parents in Corpus Christi were wealthy and supplied her with enough money for rent and utilities. I think they intended for their daughter to actually get a job, but Carolyn lived extremely frugally. She ate little else than rice and beans and somehow managed to eke out an existence from her parent’s allowance without having to get a job.

She lived in a rented three-bedroom house in an older neighborhood all by herself.

What did Carolyn do all day, you might ask?

She read books.

That’s it. She was obsessed with reading novels. It didn’t matter what type of novel or the subject-matter – she read it. All day long, she did nothing but read novels.

Apparently, she belonged to a book-trading club and would actually venture out of the house to procure her books. It became apparent how obsessed she was with reading novels when my friend stopped by to check on her and I got to see the inside of her house.

We arrived and there was Carolyn, sitting on the front porch reading a book. She glared at me with baleful eyes, not unlike Morris the Cat.

Every room was crammed with paperback books. She had dozens of these cheap metal bookshelves that reached to the ceilings. Every room of the house was totally filled with shelf after shelf of paperback books.

She also had several cats, all of whom she refused to clean up after. There were several litter boxes brimming with pussycat-doots, causing the entire book-laden house to reek. The sink overflowed with unwashed dishes smeared with rice and beans.

As I said, Carolyn was a recluse. Except for procuring books, she seldom left the house - - except on Friday nights.

What did she do on Friday nights, you might ask?

Every Friday night, she would attend, without fail, a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (remember that old thing?).

She had no intention of dating anyone, though I would imagine that any prospective suitor would flee the scene after encountering those litter boxes.

In order to ward off any interested parties, she employed the following technique: If any guy showed interest in her, she would simply tell him that she was a lesbian.

“What about if a lesbian came on to her?” I asked my friend. (After all, she attended Rocky Horror every Friday night and would ward off any interested guy by telling him she was a lesbian.)

In that case, she would still say she was a lesbian, “but only politically.”


So, that is a short description of Carolyn.

I wondered what would happen to her if Rocky Horror quit showing.

I didn’t like the fact that she glared at me like a fat, orange tabby cat.

I secretly wished that her rich parents would cut her off, forcing her to get off her butt, put down the book, and get a job for crying out loud. (And clean out the litter boxes while she’s at it)

But, in all honesty, I was a little bit jealous of Carolyn.

After all, there was a small, disaffected part of me that wished I never had to interact with anyone and could do nothing but read books all day.


At 2:17 PM , Blogger Al In The County said...

There's a small part of us all that wants to be like Carolyn. At least for a short period of time.

Then we find out that we actually like to interact with life. :)

Great story. Love the "politically lesbian" line.

At 7:01 PM , Blogger Speck said...

"Damn," Speck grumbled as she put down her book to go clean out the litter box, "I'm dying my hair blonde tonight."

At 2:09 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

She sounds like an absolute delight and from what you say, she's depriving everyone of her sparkling personality.

I'm like Carolyn occasionally. I refer to these times as "holidays".

At 3:01 PM , Blogger Br. Jonathan said...

Al, Speck, Edder: Good points.
I think there's a little Carolyn in all of us.

At 10:13 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

Yeah, I'd think that, too--but after a week of lounging in a suburban yard and reading books, I got BORED. It's good to be back in civilization! *smiles*


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