--> divine angst: geeking out

Sunday, January 09, 2005

geeking out

Yesterday, Mr. Angst and I finally celebrated Christmas with my dad. Yes, yes, very belated, but also very enjoyable. (My stepmother makes a wicked tenderloin....so yum.)

Amongst the tchotchkes I received were a few gifts I was thrilled to get: a stovetop espresso maker, some capuccino mugs, and two books I've been hoping someone would buy for me: Garner's Modern American Usage and A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (also by Garner). (I received earlier The Elements of Legal Style, a third book by Garner. Yeah, I have a bit of an obsession, but the man is a genius at this stuff. He also edits Black's Law Dictionary.)

I was so thrilled to get these books that I immediately opened up one and started perusing. My stepmother, who bought them based on my Amazon.com wishlist, had no idea what kind of books they were and asked why I wanted them, and what value they had.

So I started talking about the differences in usage between British and American English, the misuses of over-complex constructions, and finally flipped to an entry to make my point. I started reading from "toward/towards."

Mr. Angst burst out laughing.

Apparently, I was geeking out. I looked up to see that my stepmother's eyes were sort of glazed over. I also noted that my father had tuned out completely and was inspecting the golf range finder we'd bought him.

Um. OK. I closed the books, put them down, and smoothed over my geek attack by mumbling, "Well, they're just really good reference books, since I do so much editing at work, and I'll be doing so much writing next year..." I think I did a pretty good job of redeeming my cool factor to the 'rents. We had coffee, talked about playoff football and I managed to pass myself off for the rest of the night as a relatively normal human being.

But tonight, at home with Mr. Angst, I feel no need to hide my wordlove. I hauled out my prizes and promptly began reading the prefaces. Hey—everyone has a vice. This one is mine.

The question is, can these books count toward the 50 Book Challenge?