A TV commercial I saw recently sums up a lot of what is wrong with modern life. In it, a lovely young woman tells a man of her own age that she's going to a bookstore to pick up a copy of some sensational new bestseller. She asks the young man if he'd like to come along to the bookstore with her. The man turns down her offer saying, in effect, "No thanks. I've got a Kindle [or perhaps it was a Nook]. I can download the book right now and begin reading it in seconds."Clearly the guy is inept and can't tell he's being hit on. Or it's just a commercial. I don't see a Kindle or a Nook ruining any potential relationship. Whatever happened to the question "What are you reading?" Or has everyone been able to make out book covers from across crowded bookshops this entire time?
The ad aims to show how this e-reader can improve your life, but this guy looks like he's losing out. If I were a single man in my twenties and a hot young woman asked me to accompany her to a bookstore, I'd leap at the opportunity, even if I had no desire to purchase a book.
I know I've squinted, I've bent, I've asked my friends "What the hell book is she reading?" But eventually you get tired of wondering and get up and go over there. The worse answer you could get is "Oh! I'm reading Sarah Palin's book" or "Ann Coulter" or even "I've not been reading a book; I just like to stare at blank screens". At least you have an answer; you might even make a new friend or acquaintance instead of a person to get down and boogey with.
If someone wants to talk to a stranger there is always a way. Or we can all start agreeing to not read Kindles and Nooks in public.