The value in reading

*Just a fair warning.  This post of chock full of judgment!!*

I haven’t been reading as much as I did last year, just seems to be a slow start to the year.  Could be that I’m not spending as much time in airports this year.  Could be that my fiance now lives in the same city.  Whatever the case, my reading has diminished, and that’s a little sad for me, considering how much I love to read.

I met a guy a few weeks ago – one of those real sleezy guys that makes you want to shake your head and say, “I thought people like you only existed in daytime soap operas.”  It so happened that because he was a business associate of my cousin who was in town, I had to spend a better part of an evening with this guy.  He was loud, obnoxious and infuriating.  It would be hard to pick the comment that I found most appalling, but this one definitely landed in the Top 5.

“So my kid, he’s like 14, and he reads all the f***ing time.  I mean, come on, do something dude!  I make fun of him all the time.  He so didn’t take after me.  I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read in my entire life!  I just don’t get him.”

I just stared at this man.  Who mocks their kid for reading?  Seriously?  Now, I had been true to my Southern roots all night and ignored most of his asinine comments.  I pretended to ignore his mockery of all things decent, and feigned losing count of the number of times he put down his wife.  But mocking his child for reading, I couldn’t handle.

“Um, I read 32 books.  Last year.”  And I honestly didn’t care how pretentious I sounded.  Shame on that man for mocking his son for reading.  Shame on him for not setting a better example.  And kudos to the kid for not taking after his dad.  Call me judgmental, but good grief.  I’m not saying everyone has to love reading as much as me, but puh-lease, don’t mock your own kid for goodness sake!

Reading for me is a release.  It can be an escape from my day.  Or it can me something to draw me closer to a certain history, or personality, or subject.  I just finished reading, “The Piano Teacher.”  A decently good story, but what really drew me in was the attention to describing the setting in Hong Kong.  It made me miss my dear friends back in the city.  It was a great reminder of my time there.  Reading road names and hotels that I often passed helped me draw to mind particular faces that maybe I haven’t thought about in awhile.  What a beautiful thing for a book to be able to do!

So read on kid, whoever you are.  Escape if you need to.