I am reading several books right now. I am almost always reading several books “right now.” It’s the curse of ebooks. I can carry hundreds of books in my pocket, or a small handbag, switching according to mood, weather, time of day. Rarely, anymore, do I read a single book straight through, beginning to end, without any detours.
Neil Gaiman’s collection of speeches and essays started as a short detour, something to read on work breaks, because it promised selected shorts, complete bits that could be read in 10 or 15 minute increments. It hasn’t worked out that way.
Yesterday, I missed my floor on the elevator, twice, only vaguely aware of the quiet ding that signals one has arrived, riding up and down nine floors while I finished one of these short bits. The third time, I stepped off, still reading, walked down the hall–still reading–badged myself into the office, yes, still reading: walking slowly, reading quickly, down the corridor to my bland little cubicle. Sitting down at my desk was painful, a wretched tearing of attention away from pleasure, like ripping off a bandage.
This is why I don’t drive.