It's happened again.
I was volunteering at the Bottom Shelf again, and overheard one of the other volunteers talking to a customer. She asked the customer if he'd read a particular book, and he said no, have you? She said she had. Then he asked if she'd read another book. She said she had. She mentioned that she'd read all the books by that particular author.
"Wow, you must read a lot," said the customer, duly impressed.
"I have something to read with me all the time," said the volunteer. "I'm never without a book."
"Really?" said the customer.
"Oh yeah, I read 10 or 15 books a week," said the volunteer.
How do people do this? How can they read so much in such a short time? I was soon to get a hint.
"Ten to 15 books a week!" said the customer. "That's a lot!"
"When I say all the time, I mean all the time," said the volunteer. "When I'm watching tv, I have a book open on my lap."
Okay, wait. The way I see it, either you're watching tv or you're reading a book.
But the customer is always right: 10 to 15 books a week is a lot. I'm lucky if I manage one.
I thought about having something to read with me all the time. I keep several books on my nightstand, and several more in the living room, and a book on the kitchen table, and one in the bathroom, and one next to my car keys in case I want to take a book with me where I'm going, like if I think the destination is going to be boring or something. I've given it a lot of thought, and I just can't think of any other places to keep a book so that I can read while I'm doing something else. (When I watch tv, I actually watch tv.) I mean, I had some sort of crazy and silly ideas like having text scroll down your car window, like a teleprompter, but then you might not pay attention to traffic conditions. And I thought about eating your words, like having toasted text. Or texted toast. But like I said, those ideas are silly.
It reminds me, though, of when I was a kid and we used to eat things like Alpha-Bits and alphabet soup, and try to find messages in our meals. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. Sometimes what came up in your spoon was gibberish:
Sometimes it wasn't even English:
Sometimes it had nothing to do with your current situation (at least, you hoped not):
But sometimes your food could deliver pertinent messages and timely warnings:
But can you really count the 10 or 15 spoonfuls of communicative food as having something to read with you all the time? I suppose I could try to discipline myself like I did when I was in school, and have a specific time set aside that I devote entirely to reading. But that sort of takes the fun out of it. If I wanted to be disciplined about reading, I'd go back to school.
I've said it before, but what I really wish is that I could read faster whenever I wanted to. That way, I could zoom through stuff that is only mildly interesting, or that is something I'd like to know but don't want to spend a lot of time learning, and then slow down a bit and savor the really good stuff.
Incidentally, Alpha-Bits was taken off the market in 2006, I guess because of waning sales. Although it came back in 2008, I couldn't find any at our local market. I take it as a sign of the decline of literacy in our town.