The Pleasure of Reading While Waiting

by | Nov 15, 2021 | What I'm Thinking | 0 comments

I spent a lovely morning sitting on a hard red bench in room filled with the smell of tires at Costco. It wasn’t the bench or the smell that made the morning lovely, but the fact that I had brought along the October issue of Harper’s magazine to read while I waited. (The stock photo here does not depict me, btw. My fingers are not nearly so long or beautifully manicured.)

In fact, I almost wish it had taken the prompt and courteous tire crew longer to change out my tires, because I find I do my best reading in waiting rooms, as well as on subway cars and trains. There is something about being away from my desk and my reading chair that allows me to concentrate and give myself over to what I’m reading in a way I don’t seem to do when I’m at home. Perhaps this is an argument for coffee shops and libraries as places to read, but I haven’t been going to those places lately.

Maybe because there is nothing else I need to do while I am waiting. I am already accomplishing the thing I came to do—put winter tires on my car—so I can my reading my full attention. In any case, I recommend the following articles, which unfortunately sit behind a paywall (I understand the need for this). “The Mourning After,” by Maggie Nelson, describes the loss and liberation of overcoming addiction; “To Be a Field of Poppies,” by Lisa Wells, discusses the growing movement toward composting one’s remains (something I have been thinking about lately); and “Put on the Diamonds,” by Vivian Gornick, offers a powerful discussion of the hurt of humiliation. Time spent reading any of them would be well spent, even if you do not need to change your tires.