There's nothing like opening your book group's selection for the month to find it is covered with layers of annotations - earnest red-pen-and-highlighter markings from your first reading of it in your senior year of high school, sober blue declarations from your last year of college*, subtle underscorings from when you taught it in grad school. (*Is it significant that the book is Remains of the Day?)
And the whole volume smells strongly of some ancient and unnostalgic perfume that broke over it in a move. It actually reeks of the rot of youth's empire.
Happily, I have at least this metaphorical solace to impart: over time, earnest highlighting fades, until it's almost impossible to discern that at age 18, the whole world was EMPHATIC.
It's only right that I should live with the stink of my marginal hubris. (Wait. Is that an oxymoron? Or a description of the novel's narrator?)
Look on my thoughts, ye mighty, and despair.