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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Is Anyone Reading Anymore?

Today my husband and I drove out to Long Island with daughter #3. She has been getting treated for a back problem and today she had an epidural. (Not fun.) I brought along my Rocket to read the latest e-book I had loaded in there while I sat in the waiting room. My husband brought along his model railroad magazine. There was a man sitting across from us in the waiting room reading a novel and another man a few chairs away who was also reading a novel.

The television was blaring away, but nobody was watching it. Two women were sleeping. Another man was whistling--I could not recognize the tune, I don't think he had any particular melody in mind. There were magazines scattered on a table, but few people picked them up.

We were there for a l-o-n-g time. My husband went outside after a while to walk around the area. He found a Subway sandwich shop where we later grabbed something to eat.

It amazed me to see so many people who were not reading. With a loved one going through a medical procedure, a book is the perfect distraction.

Our daughter got through the epidural just fine, though it will be a few days before we know if it was effective.

Perhaps novels and other books should be available in all waiting rooms. Certainly, the televisions should be turned off. Nobody is watching the box and it is wasting electricity.


reggie said...

One can only watch NASDAQ ticker across the bottom of a TV screen for so long! In both my personal life, and while working at a job requiring I wait to transport patients to and from doctors, I must say, there is seldom anything on the TV that holds anyone's attention. In a hospital room, it's great. You can put on what you want to see, and it is a distraction. In a waiting area, well, maybe some people like the "white noise" on some level.

I think, though, that colorful magazines with lots of pictures and SHORT articles are good for holding the attention of the very frazzled if they are too worried to focus long, and I also think having enticing literature lying aroudn would be beneficial for those of us who escape into a wonderful story. The benefit of the magazines, I feel, is the visual simulation--nice flower gardens, the truck every guy wants to own....But reading a good novel can be very therapeutic and meditative.

I think the TVs should be left on for those with different means of coping, and for random white noise--music tends to have too much of an emotional effect on people, I feel, and would be challenging to choose something that would not evoke some emotional response (undesired at the time) in some one.

Keep the TV and NASDAQ ticker rolling, more in my opinion for the white noise than anything, and put out some good books--heck, one can finish a short novel in the ammount of time spent waiting for specialists, etc!

Leann said...

I agree, a good book beats the tv anytime. Plus you can get lost in a book and totally lose track of time, where with a tv you are reminded of the time by commercials, beginnings of new programming and lets not forget....the news!!
Here here for reading!!

Anonymous said...

I have also wondered the same thing. I grew up reading and I carry a book with me everywhere since living in New Jersey guarantees that one will wait in line wherever you go. LOL.

I can't even tell you what is on T.V. I’m surprised with the people I know, how little if at all read.

Your blog was referred to me by Leann. I'll be checking out your website also.

reggie said...

I thought I would include here an excerpt from my own blog, about TV and reading. Starts Below:

Ahhh....Nothing quite like getting to stay snuggled in bed on a Saturday morning with a good cup of coffee and a newspaper. That would have to be my little bit of Heaven right here on earth.

Growing up, my mother always had the news paper delivered to our house, 7 days a week. She'd sit there reading her paper, with a cup of coffee, and we'd peruse it over our breakfast as well.

When I was working as a paid EMT on overnights, one of my occasional luxuries was when my partner and I could sit there and read our newspapers between runs, and talk about what was going on in the world.

Paradise doesn't have to be an expensive house on your own island. It can be found in the simple pleasures that are so familiar and evoke comforting, familiar emotions, like sitting at the breakfast table every morning reading the news.

There is something so much more tangible about being able to hold written words in your hand, rather than listening to the overdramatic attempts of news anchors to reach a desensitized public, used to watching all kinds of horror on TV, and perhaps unable to truly differentiate the dichotomy of a nasty movie and people being shot in real life in the streets. Just look at the flattened, or absent, emotions of people watching the news on TV.

There was a point where I did not watch the news on TV for almost a year, preferring the mellow voice of the AM news annoucer on the radio, or simply reading a paper.

The first time I sat down to watch the evening news, I was horrified at the overstimulation thrown in to try to hit home to people "This is BAD!" And what worries me more, is, will the overly expressed input of the news anchors on how we should behave when we see something horrid only serve to desensitize us more?

I'd rather look at an unmoving piece of paper, and have the luxury of time, and a better cross section of the story, and decide my emotions on a topic for myself.

As a kid, I always felt very grown up getting to sit and read the paper at breakfast. As an adult, I know why I do. It makes one think, mull over in their mind the truths about what they are presented with.

Perhaps it is a tad eccentric, but one of my fears in this "age of technology" has always been, What If they stop printing the newspaper and delivering it to my doorway? There is something so....artificial about reading the news blurbs on a computer that I have yet to get used to. I want my kids to sit there with their news PAPER in the morning as we always did.

And as I sit here this morning, with my cup of coffee, snuggled up with my newspaper and a stuffed animal, I am transported back to my parent's kitchen and the lessons, and appreciation for thinking and reading and drawing one's own conclusions, I learned there.

Jodie said...

I think I am reading enough for 10 people. :D