On several occasions in recent memory, I’ve watched with mild irritation while people risk life and limb by walking up the road with their nose in a book.
Ordinarily I’m pro reading in public places. It’s pretty hot, particularly if you’re reading something awesome. Well done those people – I’m sure you know who you are. You’ve got moxie.
However, if you’re walking down Leith Street between 8.30 and 9am (Sheila O’Flanagan reader) or up Broughton Road just after 5pm (Terry Pratchett and Terry Goodkind man) that is a time for LOOKING WHERE YOU ARE GOING. It is BUSY; there are lots of commuters and school children and occasional cyclists or dogs or buggies to negotiate. The fact you can read does not mean they ought to change their path to get around your meandering gait – stop being so bloody rude.
I don’t care how good your story is. I wouldn’t even turn a blind eye if it was one of mine. If you’re that engrossed, stop and sit on a bench, or go for coffee, or get a bus – don’t ponce up the street not looking where you’re going except to occasionally scout out whether an attractive stranger is gazing at you approvingly on the grounds of your astounding literacy. They aren’t, they’re considering elbowing you out of the way, and they’re actively hoping you stand in that dog poo over there.
Furthermore, I strongly suspect there’s no way you can be giving your apparently amazing book the attention it deserves if you’ve made it this far without being killed or severely maimed by oncoming traffic. And if this still-being-alive-ness is genuinely a matter of pure luck and you are in fact totally lacking in self awareness, I feel I should point out you are the mugger’s delight – as you muddle on, oblivious to the outside world, the Artful Dodger has hopefully probably made a beeline for your wallet.
Oddly enough I’ve never seen anyone be such a pranny with their kindle in hand. I’ve seen it read on the train, at bus stops, and in a couple of other stationary positions, but not while commuting on foot during rush hour.
What conclusions can we draw from this? Perhaps the average kindle reader values their life as well as their reading experience, whereas the book reader would rather be splatted by the 22 bus than buy a book mark. Or maybe the kindle reader values the reading experience more, because he or she will wait until they reach appropriate surroundings before embarking on their literary journey.
Alternatively, some people are idiots, and the medium they choose to be idiots in is neither here nor there.
Alternatively alternatively, I am a grump, and should leave people alone. After all I complain about not being able to shoehorn reading into my day all the time – at least these guys are being proactive and creating their own answer to the problem.
September 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm
Maybe it is because, if someone reading a book got knocked over and survived, they could replace the book quite easily, whereas a Kindle still qualifies in peoples’ brains as a luxury item, and therefore must be protected when in transit?
September 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm
It could well be… although according to my esteemed colleague the amazon are very good about replacing broken ones.
September 15, 2011 at 8:47 am
I think we should start a city-wide campaign of knocking the books out of their hands as we overtake them. Couldn’t do that with Kindles though, they are too spensive I would feel bad.
September 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm
An interesting tactic, if somewhat aggressive – I worry that charges would be pressed. Perhaps we should start with some sort of peaceful protest, such as a march, or a campaign of tutting loudly when these people go past..