As an informal poll, I’m curious how many readers here may share the following reaction:
Through unexpected circumstances, you end up somewhere else. You’ve failed to bring any sort of book whatsoever. In fact, you didn’t even bother to bring your backpack. Now you’re faced with the circumstances of traveling back to your original destination where the bag and the book sare. But through some strange alignment of the cosmos, there’s not only nothing to read nearby, but nowhere to buy anything decent. Not even so much as an issue of the New Yorker that you’ve already read.
Of course, you can tough it out. At least that’s what you believe you can do. But reading is such an ingrained part of your life that, with the exception of rampant copulation, you can’t think of a life without it. Whenever there’s a spare moment or the eyes can’t stay shut at 2 AM, the book is there to comfort you, to transport or inform you, and to provide a certain equilibrium that puts existence into a certain perspective.
Without that dependable security, you start to pace. You try desperately to find other things to do. You talk to the strangest people who might be in the same boat. Or something else.
You see, that’s where you folks come in.
What is it that you, dear readers, do when there’s nothing available to read? Do you read street signs? Do you get excited over the directions on a bottle of aspirin? To what degree does the reading experience become somewhat sociopathic, where the eyes must rest upon words and the imagination transported in order to remain of sound and jovial mind?