Confessions of a Reader: Part 2Claire Diaz-Ortiz
Worse than that, though, I realize that most people thought it was weird the lengths to which I’d go to read anywhere, and everywhere.
When I spent a year traveling around the world with my best friend, she had a brilliant photographic series going of me reading in places where I should have been taking pictures, or absorbing the view, or just looking around me. (This, and she was a huge reader herself!) It was as if, in my adult years, I became incapable of going anywhere without a book.
Which is exactly what it was, in fact. These days, no matter where I go, I have a book on hand, and it baffles me the number of people I see who don’t do the same. How many lines do I stand in, waiting forever, watching 95% of the people around me stare off into space? Decompressing is good, and taking a moment to stare off may be a positive thing, but how can this really be our norm? All the time? For most people? Again and again, I wonder this.
One early morning as I was passing through immigration in some port in the United States, this all came to a head.
It was 5 am, or thereabouts, and the line was horrid. We’d been waiting easily for 40 minutes at this point, and I’d been reading the whole time. Most of my fellow passengers were not doing the same. The ones who weren’t doing the same (and who weren’t wrangling small babes or tots and/or talking with their traveling companion) were doing what they seemed good at: staring off into space, bored out of their minds.
At one point, forty minutes in, two men who were traveling together looked at me, momentarily stunned, and said: “You’re reading?! At 5 in the morning?! How can you do that?!?”
My baffled response: “How can you not?!”
We stared at each other awkwardly, and then decided to part ways, the distance between our two perspectives too great to overcome.
I’m a reader, you see.