Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Perils of a Good Book - 2

(or, why reading didn't catch on as a spectator sport)

As I sat in the doctor's office yesterday -- a very small space that seats about seven people -- I seized the opportunity to read since my husband had taken our restless preschooler, Devyn, for a drive.

The older man beside me forgot the social rule about curiosity. As I swept my hair back in a bun, he turned his head and ended up being so close that I could actually feel him breathing on me.

Ignoring him, I opened The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh and found a section--whose contents were unknown to me--that I'd been waiting to read. I slowly read and I was aware that Mr. Breath was reading over my shoulder as imagery of sexual violence suddenly unfolded in sharp detail!

While I could have guessed that this imagery would crop up again in the book, I hadn't a clue about what I was about to read at that particular moment.

Um, that's a new one for me. How do you handle book-interlopers while you're reading material that would make you uncomfortable even if you were by yourself?

There's the toothless smile that you give just after turning your head in the direction of the interloper followed by an uncomfortable shift of shoulder position and clearing of the throat. That's the only remedy that comes to mind.

I didn't do anything. I just sat there, continuing to read.

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