I’m trying to give up reading for a week. Last month I tried to give it up for two weeks, and failed, so I aimed lower. It’s an experiment in soft addictions. Three days in, after countless slip-ups, I’m at the bargaining stage. Does Slate count? Slate doesn’t count because it’s on the internet and I’m at work, right? Reading at work doesn’t count. Look, I have a sandwich in my hand. What about Apartment Therapy?
Slate counts. I stuck a Post-It on my computer that says READ in a big circle with a line through it.
“What’s that?” said Peter, who likes to catalogue my eccentricities. I told him my theories on soft addictions. There’s another Post-It just below it that says BITE with a line through it. It’s about chewing my fingernails, still a major food group though I’m 32 years old.
“And you’re not going to bite me any more, baby?”
“Bite me,” I explained.
I notice the text deprivation most on the subway, where some day I’ll get shot for staring at people. I get interested in certain faces, and I can’t seem to listen in properly without staring, too. A book is protection against this reckless habit.
Without one, I set my iPod to my Bill Clinton Makeout Soundtrack for the Q Train ride home. The other headphone clones don’t seem compelled into the little shuffly dances I do when I have private music. Not that it mattered. Last night no one looked at each other. They nosed into their books, or stared carefully into space. They all looked drained, and it’s only November.
The King is right. “We can’t go awwn together,” I wanted to implore them, ” With suspicious minds.”