Four Reasons Not to Read in Public
Even though I like to read whenever I get the chance, I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable doing so in public (like in a movie theater lobby or a restaurant). It was like wearing a sign declaring that I was loser(or loner), and I didn’t really want to be obvious about that part of my personality.
This is the great thing about technology like tablets and smart phones; I can read in public now, and instead of being the loner/loser who is reading a book in public, I am a guy with cool new technology checking updates and (maybe) watching porn.
Although reading in public is now more socially acceptable because of technology (people can’t tell that you’re reading a book in public), there are still a few reasons NOT to.
1. You can get conked on the head.
The world is a dangerous place. Criminals want to mug you. Drivers aren’t paying attention (because they’re reading too). Sidewalks have cracks in them. Bad things can happen when you’re in public and not paying attention.
If you absolutely must read in public (and I still do, despite what I write), make sure your back is protected. Lean up against a wall. Look up once every few seconds (even if you aren’t paying attention, you can still maintain the appearance of vigilance). And never, ever walk while you’re reading.
These rules also apply to anything technology related, like texting or gaming.
2. You still might look like a tool.
It used to be that people who read in public were considered losers or recluses or antisocial or socially inept. Now that we have tablets and smart phones, we can read in public and nobody knows what we’re doing.
However, people who spend too much time on their phones (or tablets) while in public are considered to be tools. This causes a bit of a dilemma. If you’re caught reading a book in public, you’re a loser. If you spend too much time playing with your pad in public, you’re a tool. Is it better to be a loser or a tool? Either way, reading too much in public can cause others (who don’t read very much) to see you in a negative way.
3. You get interrupted.
I dislike getting interrupted while I read. I dislike getting interrupted while I’m concentrating on anything. If I’m going to read in public, I choose something that I don’t have to concentrate on, so I don’t overreact when I’m inevitably interrupted.
There are numerous ways to get interrupted while reading in public. Somebody you know might start talking to you. Somebody you don’t know might start talking to you. Somebody you don’t know might conk you on the head. Somebody might ask you to take a picture of them. Somebody might call you on your phone while you’re reading on it (that can also happen in private). If you’re going to read in public, prepare to be interrupted.
If you absolutely must concentrate on something, you’d probably better not read it in public.
4. You might miss something interesting going on around you.
I’m not talking about beautiful sunrises or ocean views. Those are nice, but most of us will appreciate those when the opportunity comes around. I’m talking about stuff to video.
Just last month while I was reading in public, I missed out on seeing a minor car accident. It was minor, so nobody got hurt, but then the two drivers got into a very loud and very interesting argument. Somebody else nearby videoed the conflict, but I didn’t. If two people are arguing and threatening violence upon each other, the last thing I’d want to do is to turn myself into their common enemy.
Last week I missed a confrontation between a Labrador and an army of dive-bombing birds. If I hadn’t been reading in the park, I would have noticed it sooner and maybe have gotten some great animals vs. animal footage. Instead, all I got was a dog barking (seemingly) at nothing.
A few months ago I was reading in public while my daughter watched a cat stuck in a tree. If I had been paying attention, I would have captured a death defying leap from one tree to another, followed by a dazzling fall and miraculously safe recovery, with my family cheering in the background (to be later viewed by millions on YouTube). Instead, all I have is a cat fleeing from our obnoxious cheering.
Stupid reading in public!
As much as I love reading (I don’t care if I look like a tool anymore), I don’t want to get conked on the head, I don’t want to get interrupted , and I really don’t want to miss out on videoing cool stuff happening around me. So when you decide to read in public (even though you probably shouldn’t), just remember to keep your back to a wall, stay vigilant, be emotionally ready to get interrupted, and always have your camcorder ready to roll.
And if you absolutely must read in public, it might as well be this!