WHAT DO YOU READ? – Marilyn Armstrong

So let’s say you’re at the airport. Your flight is delayed for six more hours, and none of your electronic devices are working. Out of juice and all the plugs are taken … and there’s no free wi-fi. Oh no!

How can you pass the time? Those chairs are too uncomfortable for sleep and you’re too old to use the floor.

I don’t believe it. You really don’t know what to do without electronic devices? You are lost without your cell phone? Really?

If you don’t have an instant answer to this, perhaps we come from different planets. I would reach into my carry-on and pick out a copy of The New Yorker or National Geographics. I could take a walk to the nearest shop (airports are full of them) and buy something to read. A newspaper maybe?

Yes, they still print them.

And the Kindle, with books already downloaded, is like carrying a whole library with you wherever you go.

If all else fails, I might consider chatting with other passengers who are waiting with me. I have had some of the most interesting conversations of my life in terminals, waiting for planes, trains or buses. Although I know you usually text, the organ into which you insert food has a dual purpose and can be used for conversation.

Despite rumors to the contrary, direct communication between living people can prove a pleasant — even enlightening — way of passing the hours. If you’ve never tried it, this would be an opportunity to expand your world! I strongly recommend you give it a try.

You really need to think about this? Seriously?

I’d probably be taking a few dozen pictures too. Airports and the people in them make great subjects. I don’t take pictures using a phone. In fact, I don’t carry a cell phone (what? say that again? You heard me … I don’t carry a cell phone).

I use a camera, a device dedicated to taking photographs. I carry enough spare batteries to get me through two weeks without electricity, so I don’t care what anyone says.

My camera WILL work, no matter where I am.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

31 thoughts on “WHAT DO YOU READ? – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. When my dad was still here I was at the airport twice a year, there and back. It was never boring with my Kindle or camera. Shame we never met there. We could have compared books and photos.

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  2. The good news for me is that since I retired, I have not set foot inside an airport, so I am unlikely to find myself in this dilemma. But if I were to find myself in an airport with no juice and no WiFi, I’d go to the nearest newsstand/bookstore and pick out a book to read. Nothing heavy duty. Just some “summertime beach” book. And I’d bury my head in it in order to avoid having to actually converse with another human being.

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    1. I know a lot of people who do not read. My DIL for one. I have never seen my granddaughter read except for school. I know people who don’t own ANY books or even magazines. Scary, isn’t it?

      On the other hand, I’ve learned a huge amount from conversations on buses between NY and Montreal.

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      1. These days I only subscribe to one magazine, The Week. I read the daily newspaper (paper edition), my newsfeed on my iPhone, and blogs on WordPress. I also read at least one book a month, mostly novels, but occasional non-fiction. I used to read a lot more books when I was working, either on the commuter trains or at airports and on flights. I’d usually go through 50-60 books a year back then. Now, as I said, my goal is 10-12 a year.

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        1. Garry doesn’t read as much as he used to and I listen more than I read. It’s our eyes. They are tired and for many of us, close vision is a problem. For me, reading glasses are too strong. NO glasses work better, but sharp vision? Hah. That was when I was younger. Lots younger.
          Actually, if you want to describe us, tired is the right word, or these days — retired as in “tired all over again.”

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        2. I get National Geographics because they are now a part of the support for the National Parks … and The New Yorker because I agree with them on almost everything except books and movies. They admire books I find really boring and dine in restaurants you couldn’t pay me to go to — and hate movies I love while loving movies I hate. I’m just not snobby enough for their reviews. But their articles are great, their short fiction is top quality — and they have THE world’s best cartoons!

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  3. Hard to imagine not reading isn’t it? Back in the days before electronic devices if I found myself at an airport with time to kill it was off to the newsagent to buy a book. It takes a long time to fly anywhere from Australia so it would be a nice big fat book that would last the journey. If I didn’t like it a lot it would be left behind for someone else to read afterward. Now I’ll usually have my Kindle instead because I can have more books and less bulk in my bag.
    There are few direct flights from Hobart to Adelaide, where David’s family live so I sometimes find myself having a layover in Sydney or Melbourne. On one occasion I was in Sydney for five hours but I had my camera with me so I wasn’t bored. I got a whole blog post out of it. I always carry spare batteries and a spare SD card and if I really get stuck there is still the phone although I don’t enjoy taking photos with it. It just replaces the spare camera I always used to carry. David was very big on always taking a spare camera.
    I talk to people too. I’ve only had a smartphone for a bit over a year so I haven’t lost the ability to communicate without it yet. In fact, I have this extraordinary habit of turning it off or onto mute if I’m out with friends so it doesn’t interrupt our conversation. Occasionally I even leave it at home.

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  4. I DO take photos with my smartphone. Almost exclusively so – because I bought my phone with sole view on the camera’s quality. Why? Because I am so fed up with carrying a camera with me, because of the weight, the complications it causes…. and my eyesight is so bad that I have literally given up any ambition I had with regards to impeccable quality. My smartphone makes incredibly good photos and I can twitch them right then and there. Funnily enough, one or even two books in my baggage never worried me. Interesting, isn’t it, now that I think about it!!!!! I still don’t have a kindle, for the sole reason that I walvnt an English one and I can’t get their deals (on Ama) as I’m not resident of the UK and I definitely don’t want any ‘specials’ in French. The problem won’t go away once I should (hope dies last!) live again in Switzerland, because then I’d be saddled with a German kindle…. But my one stop at every airport ALWAYS is the bookshelves in any shop, same at train stations etc. I cannot imagine a life w/o books and I’m going through at least 2 per week. I own some 2000 books and one of my main problems will be to read them all before I’m going to be blind completely…. And yet, and yet, yesterday I received two parcels from the UK with 2nd hand books I ordered (two by D. Kennedy). A third book should arrive today…. I’m bitten badly by the reading bug, and that’s one I cultivate!

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    1. My sight isn’t quite at the going blind level, but it isn’t very good, either. I wear middle-vision glasses most of the time because most of my life takes place in that range. Focusing on text for extended periods is very wearing, so mostly, I listen now. I just need to make a little more time for listening!

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  5. We’re not from different planets at all, Marilyn. I never travel anywhere without a book. Yes, a good old-fashioned book. The printed sort. It’s nearly always non-fictional and involving some aspect of the Middle Ages, but I’d never be stuck at an airport without anything to read. I never got on with e-readers, preferring to hold the real thing in my hands and turn the paper pages. And as for conversation, that would be lovely. Human interaction seems to be a skill we humans are losing, and it’s sad. We all need to put our devices down and start talking again. 🙂

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    1. Books become heavy as your wrists get worn out, which they do. Between playing the piano, typing, and computers, my wrist are finito. The weight of a hardcover book is really too much — and I REALLY like the light in the Kindle. I think the light is the best part of the deal. I have books. Thousands of them, many first editions and quite a few of the signed, but i don’t read them. I just love them 😀

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      1. Luckily, I usually carry a paperback which is just as light as a Kindle, although admittedly, it’s only one book. I love books too. I always think opening a book for the first time is entering a portal to another world – the promise of intrigue and fascination to come. 😀

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        1. I read magazines, but I listen to novels. I used to listen all the time, especially when I was working on photographs since Garry (who couldn’t hear) used headphones to watch TV. But now, he can hear, so he doesn’t use headphone — he has headphones in his head! It is my turn use headphones. I find the combination of eyeglasses and headphones uncomfortable and sometimes, painful. So now, I only read at bedtime … and I tend to fall alseep pretty quickly since I’ve also discovered online bridge (which keeps me up late!) and has eaten the time I used to use for reading. I am APPALLED at how badly I play and am determined to get better. I used to be better .. but now I also see why they recommend bridge for older people. It requires a lot of memory and counting, remembering which team played that particular card — and when. It’s a lot of remembering for people whose memories is fading.

          I figure bridge very good mental exercise, probably better than novels about magic, fantasy, and science fiction. But that’s what I read these days. I read all the serious books when I was a lot younger. Now, reading is entertaiment. Oh how the years change us!

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    1. If I could figure out what to do with all the piles of paperbacks I’ve read, I’d give them away in a heartbeat. The Library won’t take paperbacks and we gave them TONS of hardbound books, too — as well as ALL my Books-OnTape (cartons and cartons of them!). In fact, our Books-On-Tape is the entire listening part of our library. I would borrow them — but I’ve already heard them all. Most of the books I like are already in the library because I donated them. They ran out of space. Then we gave more to the Senior Center — until THEY ran out of places to put them. We donated MORE stuff to the regional and local highs schools until THEY ran out of shelves.

      We STILL have too many books. Need books? THEY are cheap to mail! And all in fine condition, too, Oh, Leslie, there’s a hummingbird at my front window! Ohhh!

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  6. I love people watching! You can learn a lot about human nature and what individuals are about just by observing. As you say, it’s also wonderful to chat with others. I met a wonderful woman at emergency by chatting. What an incredibly interesting life she’s led. Fascinating tbh and I’d have missed out on the opportunity if I’d not taken the opportunity to open a dialogue with her.

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    1. I got an entire history of India and its relationship with Great Britain from an Indian student traveling back from New York to his university — McGill in Canada. It was absolutely fascinating and completely changed my understanding of the country.

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