Friday, August 7, 2009

A Car Reader Fever


Growing up was tough. Especially if you don't like car rides. Picture this: a bouncy, off-the-wall, sugar injected kid completely bored with the drive (no matter what length) complaining every two seconds. That would be yours truly. It would be a long time until I would drive and I knew, at a young age, that my parents ruled the road. Car time was definitely not my time.

I'd huddled myself in the back all grouchy and unsatisfied as they blasted cassette tapes up front. I sought to remedy this problem quickly and with somewhat messy results.

For the first few times, I would bring my red egg of silly putty into the car. Parents are not fans of silly putty. Here's why: I got tired of constantly bringing it back and forth from the car to the house and was afraid I would lose my little pliable form of entertainment. I ditched the egg case and stuck the stuff right at the base of the back window of the van. Being that the interior was the same light brown color as the putty, it was virtually undetectable. Of course, it became a problem when I did that in summer and the van began absorbing a burning plastic smell.

"New rule for the van: No more Silly Putty!" my parents said.

That didn't stop me from coming up with new ideas.

I was a kid with an overactive imagination. So I thought to bring some of my toys into the van. Mistake number two. The van became a mobile playground as I abused my privilege bringing over twenty action figures all from my batman collection (the original 1989 movie version set) and would get the wedged in between seats.

"New rule: No more action figures!"

I was bordering on frustration. It wasn't fair. They listened to whatever they wanted on the radio and I was left to just sit there and take it with no form of escape? What was I to do without my made up plot lines of Batman and the great seat adventure?

Well, as luck would have it, I found an old pass time which was quickly dominating my world: Comic Books! They were to me what Indiana Jones was with his trusty whip at his side. I would bring twenty or so, under my arm. Since the average comic was twenty pages, I would never run out of time with my collected treasures. Sometimes I wouldn't even read, I'd just look at the artwork in appreciation. There was one drawback though. I had to focus a lot of concentration on the comics because there were times that the radio up front was blasted to an ungodly level because my mom had some hearing loss. Try reading a spider-man comic to Mariah Carey's "Emotion". I dare you. It isn't easy.

After training my brain to block off listening to all these pop stars, reading was easy. However, I don't doubt that I know Cher, Mariah Carey, Gwen Stefani, Madonna and a host of other pop songs line for line somewhere in the reaches of my mind. This disturbs me because I am not that big of a fan of pop music.

Luckily, my comics privilege wasn't taken away but my mind thirsted for something more. Thus, I turned to Novels, bringing five or so into the car. Still, I read while blocking out pop music. But I loved reading in the car.

Today, I own a ten year old beat-up Saturn. I still carry books with me everywhere. My father once told a person that "He's always got a book glued to his hand. He never goes anywhere without one." That's true. It's also an addiction. Now I read five books simultaneously just in case I get bored with one and want to move on to the next. Right now there are 50 books in the trunk of my car.

If I ever have some sort of problem with my car out on the road, I feel comforted knowing that, if I happen to be waiting on a tow truck, I have my own mobile library. Odd, I know, but I'm still doing it.

So what say all of you? What is your strangest reading habit? Were you a car reader like me?


"Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home." ~ Anna Quindlen (How Reading Changed My Life)

1 comment:

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I was also a Car Reader - which grew into Plane Reader (back when I had the time to travel). Now I will have at least 2 books going at all times: The Upstairs Book and the Downstairs Book. There also can be the Living Room Book and the Bathroom Book.

I'd love to see the titles you carry about in your car and I admire the logic of having a personal mobile library.