The Readers Lament
|Image Creator by Bing A.I.
I love to read and reading is my choice of time diversion. People often see me reading out in public and comment about how they should have brought a book. They are of course being polite and never read books but I on the other hand, never go anywhere without one. I just keep it with me and whenever a few minutes presents itself, I'll open it up and read. It is something I treasure doing the older I get.
But the world is always against me it seems.
Just the other day, I had my vehicle in for servicing at our local dealership. Normally I go into the showroom floor where there is a bench in the corner and read instead of the provided waiting room. It is always full of people loudly talking about the most inane of subjects, watching a blaring television or playing games or videos (with sound on loudly) on their phones. It is always quiet in the far corner of the showroom. But I had the first appointment of the day and the waiting room, with it's nicer padded chairs and water dispenser was empty, and so I sat down and started reading. Ten minutes later an older man walked in and walked right over to the television remote sitting on a chair further down the row of chairs. I instantly regretted not having hidden it somewhere which I may or may not have done in the past in similar situations. He proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes scrolling from channel to channel trying to find something to watch. He finally selected something and sat there for maybe 5 minutes watching it (sounded like CNN) before getting up and leaving. I waited a couple minutes and was planning on grabbing the remote and turning the television off but when I looked around, I saw him watching the television from the other side of the glass wall dividing the waiting room from the dealership floor, and eating popcorn. He eventually comes back in, turns the television volume up a few notches (it was already too loud as far as I was concerned) and proceeds to look at things on his smart phone the rest of the time I was there.
Occasionally, I will go out to eat a quiet lunch somewhere. I try to go at off peak hours when there isn't a lot of people. I do this so I can read in peace while enjoying my meal. It never fails that someone will come in soon after me, take the seat right next to me in a restaurant full of empty tables, and begin loudly talking with their companion about topics that neither are obviously interested in but it is better than being alone with their thoughts.
Finally, I often do errands towards mid afternoon so that I can combine a trip into town doing them with picking up my youngest daughter from her school. I leave plenty of time for the errands so I don't have to return to town to complete them on another day and of course, I always have a book if I end up with plenty of time left. So I will pull into the parking lot, turn off the car and read for the next 45 minutes or so instead of going home, do something for 15 minutes and driving back into town. Without fail, someone will pull right next to me a couple minutes later and spend the next 45 minutes doing one of two things. They will either sit their in their idling car playing with their phone while the air conditioning system cycles loudly despite the temperature being a pleasant 71 degrees burning untold gallons of fuel, or they will roll down their windows and blare loud music for the entire time. Because I'm too distracted to read, I'm left calculating the untold billions of gallons of fuel wasted every week by parents sitting for hours to pick up their kids from school.
I often find myself contemplating Henry Bemis, a character on one of my favorite episodes of "The Twilight Zone, in this case episode "Time Enough At Last". Henry can never get enough time to read but eventually finds himself the only person alive and is in book nirvana, at least until the TZ twist kicks in and he breaks his only pair of reading glasses. That is why I hope to be like Bemis but always keep a spare pair of glasses around.