Sunday, May 18, 2014

SHH!!! I'm reading!

Why do so few kids read for pleasure these days?  Why do even fewer read with deep and lasting comprehension? We can find causes at home, school and in the environment, but it sure wouldn’t hurt if there were a little more peace and quiet.

I was sitting in the Quiet Car of the Amtrak Acela train trying to read the luminous memoir, The Hare with the Amber Eyes, while a pompous couple kept talking loudly, fluidly and seemingly eternally about art.  I had asked them to knock it off twice; this was the Quiet Car–if they wanted to speak, could they please sit in another car? But they weren’t having any of it, and after each of my hushings, their voices rose again, making it impossible for me to read my beloved book.  Every time I’d start to lose myself in a seductively descriptive passage, I’d be jerked out of the spell by one of his lofty baritone pronouncements or her smug, modulated laughs.  I glanced around the car wildly, looking for an ally. Weren’t other passengers similarly annoyed? Apparently not.  Men and women calmly leafed through their magazines and tapped on their iPads without meeting my eye.  “Am I the only person on this train who needs quiet to read?” I wondered.

I finally forced myself to make the superhuman effort to screen out the loud couple and direct my attention to my book, but my focus was lousy and I had to skim over the same pages again today.  There is a band playing next door as I type this line. I reread it, swear, and retype it.  And I ask again, is there anybody else out there who finds other people’s talk and ambient noise invasive and distracting? Or can the whole world concentrate perfectly well amidst chat and chortles and drumming and drilling and mayhem and chaos? 

1 comment:

FedUpMom said...

OMG! The pompous boyfriend and the supportive girlfriend! I usually encounter these people at art museums.