Monday, September 26, 2011

Ignoring Real People: When Reading Becomes Rude?

I used to have a really bad habit.

When I was younger, I'd bring a book with me to the parties and picnics my parents dragged me to. I'd find a chair, crack open my book, and completely lose myself in the world it offered so I could tune out the boring adults surrounding me, and quite frankly, the kids my own age, too. I mean, hello - volleyball? Tag? Sweating? Nope. I'm perfectly fine over here, alone, lapping up the newest installment of my Babysitters Club book, thank you.

Unfortunately, there were only so many times I could sit through my mother's lectures on being social before I had to admit it was kinda rude. So, I stopped.

But folks- it appears I've relapsed. I was just skimming through some pictures on Facebook and I came across this:

This was taken at a picnic this summer, when my grandmother's niece and great-nephew were here from Italy. I'm the 4th one from the left, with the weird-looking chicken legs. But it's not the legs that are important.

I'd like to call your attention to what I have in my hand:

I know the resolution is poor, but you'll have to take my word that the item I'm death-gripping is my ARC of Everneath by Brodi Ashton.

That's right. I brought a book to a picnic. And I fully admit that I snuck off to a chair in the far corner of the yard for a few minutes of quiet reading time during said picnic.

In my defense, my visiting relatives don't speak English and I don't speak Italian, so it's not like I could have communicated with them anyway. And everyone else at the party? I see them all the frickin' time. So I didn't feel too bad.

But then I came across THIS picture, and I was mortified:

That's me in the lower right hand corner - gulp - checking Twitter. Go ahead. Throw eggs at me. I deserve it.

Until I got a Smartphone, I never understood how people could treat their phones like appendages. I used to go hours without so much as a glance at my cell, and I'd give dirty looks to people who couldn't seem to put theirs down. Especially in public. So when did I become THAT girl?

I suppose the more important questions are these, though: Why would I rather immerse myself in imaginary people when I'm surrounded by real ones? And how can I possibly be concerned with online conversations when there are actual conversations happening right in front of me?

Does anyone else find themselves zoning out of the real world at inappropriate times? Or am I just really, really rude? (P.S. - I know it's rude. And I'm beating myself up right now, so try not to be too hard on me!)


  1. Hhahahahaahahah Okay. *deep breath*

    Are you ready for my mortifying Twitter confession? I was checking it the other night - DURING MY KIDS' BEDTIME ROUTINE.

    From my perspective, all this is normal. Up to you to judge how much of a freak I am.

    But seriously, I've been meaning to do a blog post about this. It's not like the internet and twitter is not real people. We're real. We're a community. And sometimes we feel more like "your people" than your family, even. And I think that's okay.

    Whenever people tell me I "should" disconnect or I "should" do this or that, I say, "Stop 'should'ing on me."

    Don't be too hard on yourself. And definitely don't "should" on yourself. Because that's rude.

  2. okay... so this weekend I went to NY with the husband to attend an art even that he and a friend put together every year.. there were tons of amazing people, many are friends... guess what was in my bag? yup a book... and guess where I was after the first hour or so? yup, sitting in a corner reading... my husband calls me weird, lol

    the thing is.. I'm not antisocial, but I am an introvert, so small chatty talk is hard for me.. unlike my husband who can talk to anyone.

    BUT even all the excuses.... we are writers.. and writers write and read... it's what we do!

    artists walk around with sketch books, musicians probably hum to themselves all day..

    and when I see someone who has a passion for something and they just have to be doing what they all the time... I tend to look at them in awe. like wow, they are so committed and passionate..

    well, that's us too right? we shouldn't judge ourselves.. we are passionate people, we love books.

    uh, the twitter thing? well that's a tough one. I don't have a smart phone, but I know myself. if I did, I'm pretty sure it would become an appendage.

  3. I would have been the same way. Half my family lives in Finland and doesn't speak English (at least they didn't when I was a kid). If I were a kid now visiting them, I'd be reading too (with my iPod). I'm not sure if I would be twittering, but maybe I would.

  4. I responded to blog comments on easter day. While my inlaws were over for dinner. lol. My fingers ache to take a book with me whenever we head over to my inlaws house but I know how rude it will look so I control my impulses.

  5. I'm going to give my unbiased opinion and say it was totally okay and acceptable for you to be reading at such a time. :)

  6. If you're rude, than I'm a bad mom. My kiddos have to ask me a dozen times for something because I'm in the middle of writing or reading. It takes me that long to hear them. : )

  7. HAHAHA LOVE Brodi's answer! Um...hubz and I are terrible out in public with our iphones! We need to cut it out too!

  8. Ohhh yes. Oh yes. In fact, I wish I had taken books with me MORE OFTEN when I was younger, because now that I look back on my childhood adventures, most of the kids I ran around with were annoying and didn't like to include me in things. >.<

    I'm going to have to agree with Brodi. There is nothing--I repeat, nothing--wrong with zoning out in public, especially at family reunions.

    (This coming from the girl who doesn't like touching her extended family with a ten-foot pole.)

  9. I bring a book with me almost everywhere. Sometimes you just need a few minutes of reading time! I refuse to get a smartphone, though, because I would totally be addicted to it!

  10. Smart phones = book at hand all the time! I see that as a good thing, and not nearly as conspicuous at family functions :)