Since the beginning of the technological era, the number of book addicts seemed to be on its way to decline. We have to face it though, with all these miraculous, tiny-shiny and super intelligent digital devices, today’s individuals are truly facing a crisis: pulling out of their pocket a fancy electronic device that does enable e-books among other apps and stay modern, or carrying their favorite book tucked inside their bags for a quick reading during lunch time and risk being exposed?
Luckily for the book lovers, nowadays it seems that books are in, once again. Not to be misunderstood, I do appreciate the immense help our phones, Ipods and laptops are to us, but when it comes to reading, I love it the old-fashioned, classy way. The feeling of the covers, the sound of browsing the pages, not to mention the unique smell of it – I want all that in a book. I remember the days I was confronted with a weekly, two-hour and a half commute from my hometown to the university; all those hours spent travelling by train, my books were my best companion, especially when not in the mood for meaningless chatty-chat about weather, family, political complaints and suddenly, somehow purpose in life questions the other passengers were so eager to ask me. For some unknown reason, back home, people that you meet by simply taking a train or a taxi for that matter, feel this urging need of talking to you. Uhh, can’t even remember for how many times I’d just wished they could carry on with their lives without bugging into mine…
Okay, it might feel kind of awkward being next to some people for about three hours, continuously, without talking but I like to keep a limit on that, after all we are complete strangers to each other, just happening to take the same train. Well, maybe if the complete stranger would be tall, dark and handsome I would consider putting my book down for a moment, but most of the time they were just grannies and grandpas preoccupied about the pathetic state of our country, the young generation’s lack of principles and the expensive price of everything, from bread to eye care doctors etc
Oh and love life! This seemed to be the grannies’ favorite topic …
Once, I was travelling back home and the train was packed, packed!! People were actually standing up, trying to hold on to something in between the abrupt hops of the stations and it was an unbearable heat as well. I was sitting vis-a-vis from a granny, of course, and next to me was this tacky guy that pretended to caught up in his big book. Hmmm…not very often do I see young men reading on the train, I thought to myself. After a more careful examination of his book, I almost burst into laughter when I saw it was just a bilingual dictionary of some boring, economical terms. I could feel the granny was sizing us up, both young, reading so why not try to make us talk? Uhhh…as much as I tried to be indifferent to the flamboyant conversation the two of them were carrying a few moments later, after I opened my mouth, more out of surprise than desire to communicate, saying: ‘Oh, look! A deer!’
Minutes of uninteresting blah-blah in my ear, I cracked; I closed my book and was checking my phone for no specific purpose.
‘Oh, are you reading Cioran?’ the granny asked me.
‘Well, yes, I am, I have been planning to for a long time and plus the book was a gift.’
‘But oh no, you should not be reading this! this is not a good book for young girls like you!’ as if I was into the occult type of reading, or something.
Nonetheless, by the time we arrived at destination – thank God, my knees and back were now truly aching and so were my tired neurons – all I know is that this guy gives me his card, apparently he was the son of Someone the Third, back home that I have never heard of, and asks me if we could go out in the following days. Now, the granny’s innocent smile had turned into an almost evil-ish grin and while letting out a sigh, she uttered ‘And when you think you were on this train for past three hours, not even talking to each other’ all I wanted to say was ‘Yeah, and how good that was’ I decided it was better to keep it to myself and to, of course, politely reject his date tentative.
Not that I am person devoid of any human interaction, because I love to meet new people, getting to know them and keep a friendly atmosphere, because I really am all that, except when travelling by any possible, human-invented means. When in train, all I can say is ‘Hello! I would love to get back to my book now’.