The other great thing about riding public transportation is you just plain get exposed to things. Even if you don’t like some of those things, or even if some of those things are nothing but boring, is still a boatload better than not getting exposed to things. Human beings, how they dress, do their hair; the conversations, the delays and the reasons for them; the advertisements. Yes, even the advertisements. (I once saw a comedy show because of a poster I saw in a subway. It was a quality show; entertaining and smart with lots of laughs.) But the thing I mean to mention of all the things you are exposed to riding public transportation is the books people read.
It stands out because half the nation is passing their idle time, valuable reading time as I see it, by playing Candy Crush and not by reading. It’s a rather sad state of affairs and though my inspirations to write are nearly never complaint or lament driven, I did feel compelled to complain and lament about this before, near a year ago, when I had just sold my car and first started riding public transportation regularly. Let me take this opportunity to state that I have never regretted this change from owning a car to depending on public transportation, not even for a moment. One of the best, smartest, decisions I’ve ever taken, actually.
So this morning there was a gentleman on the subway who immediately struck me as quite a lot resembling Steve Carrell and perhaps it was the fact that his nose was thus likewise a bit long and pointed that, quite like the saying, it actually looked as though it were buried in his book. He was engrossed. I careened my neck and noted the title and author: Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris. I googled it. A satire of the American workplace during a downturn in business just after the nineties’ Internet boom. Sounded like something I’d like. I added it to my list.
At first, near a year ago, as I said, I’d been keeping track and count of all the books I was now able to read instead of being stuck behind the wheel. In the first two months alone, I still boast to people, I read thirteen novels. Thirteen! But then much like Ecstasy in the nineties, could no longer keep track. (You see, in the back of my book « Dance, Trance and Transformation » I’d started a little list noting the date, the name of the rave, and the name of the E I’d taken. It’s fun to look back on.)
I went to BMV that evening and found the book and read the synopsis and flipped through the pages and decided the book was not at all for me. I did leave, however, with three other new books, one of which is Justine by the Marquis de Sade. I’d been looking for that one.
Yesterday on the way home from work I caught glimpse of another man likewise engrossed in a book he was reading. « Godel, Escher, Bach » is the title. I will have a look for it and who knows? In the meantime, I am reading The Complete Short Stories of Truman Capote, relaxing with a coffee, checking out a cute, young construction worker also on his way to work, and patting myself on the back while some kind stranger chauffeurs me to work.
Stimuli equals thinking. Leave early, welcome delays, smile while the robots stress.