Wednesday, July 3, 2013

People Who Walk and Read at the Same Time: Pick One.

I was walking down the street the other day, reading some texts when I looked up and saw a hippie walking down the street in the opposite direction pretending to read a book. My first instinct was to punch his book out of his hand straight into his face, but I used my training in critical self-control and staved off the attack.  Lucky him.

Ok. A few things to think about.

First off, if you’re “that person”, then realize that the only person you’re fooling is yourself.  I know you’re not actually reading, and everyone else knows you’re not actually reading, but for some reason, you seem to think that you’re filling your greasy little head with knowledge, when in fact the only thing you're filling it with are delusional thoughts of grandeur.  Look, It doesn't take Copernicus to see that all of that information is bouncing off your dreaded skullet. I can see those two syllable words giving you trouble from all the way across the road. . . while squinting.

Second, realize that you can’t do both tasks equally well. You’re either walking while looking at meaningless words on a page, or you’re reading while walking in to walls and plunging into fountains. You choose.  Trying to do both is like trying to read when you're really tired and you end up reading the same paragraph six times before finally giving up and going to sleep.  It's just not happening.

Third, nobody thinks you’re “talented" or “cultured” because you’re read-walking. They think you’re an idiot for trying to do both at the same time. You want to see people with real talent? Look at a marching band.  They're marching around in cadence with everyone around them, playing an effing tuba.  That's amazing.

Every time I see someone read-walking I imagine their internal conversation goes something like this:

“Man, I need to wash my hair.”
“It’s so long. It’s getting in the way of my vision.  How am I supposed to read my book on Buddhism with my hair always covering the pages?”
“Can that person see that I’m reading?”
“I’m so cultured I can’t stand it.”
“Is that me? Do I stink that bad?”
"How can I stink when I rubbed crystals and patchouli all over my naked greasy body?"
"Oh crap, I forgot I was holding a book in front of my face"
"Did that person notice that I wasn't looking at my book"
"Is the title big enough for them to read the word Buddhism?"

Yeah.  Buddhism.  Of course you're reading a book on Buddhism.

Next time you're running late for a meeting, but you just can't put down 50 shades of grey, just be late. Or, save that eloquent writing for later.  Don't try and do both.


Courtney said...

I'm read-walker and proud of it! People totally think I'm smart because of it. Usually my greasy skullet doesn't get in the way, luckily.

stygyan said...

I read while walking. I don't do it because I want to look cultured - I do it because I don't want to stop reading whatever I'm reading. If the book hooks me, I will walk reading and I won't mind the outside world. And I won't walk into anything, the same way I wouldn't walk into anything if I was talking with someone.