Walking and Reading

Josie Leavitt - May 22, 2013

I saw the most charming thing the other day. I was not working, but I drove by the bookstore on my way home. I always slow down when I drive by the store. I like to check the windows, the parking lot, etc.
Sunday found me slowing down to watch a young man, about 16, walking head first into a tree. He collided with the tree because he was reading and attempting to walk. He was fine. He looked around, somewhat sheepishly, brushed the bark off his forehead and continued to read.
There aren’t a lot of sidewalks where the store is, and seeing folks reading and walking is somewhat unusual, to say the least. The last person I saw reading and walking was Elizabeth when we lived in New York City. She could do it and not only not hit a tree, but nary a person. She’d know just when to slightly swerve to avoid collisions and still keep reading.
Curiosity got the best of me and I pulled in to the store. I had to find out what book was so engrossing. Turns out this young man had come to the bookstore for the very first time that day. He had been walking around town and “just had to stop and check out the bookstore,” according to the staff working. Turns out the book was Backwater, fifth in the Pendragon series. This young man, whose name we don’t know, was just visiting our town for a cousin’s graduation. He loved the store and as far as I know made it home safely.

8 thoughts on “Walking and Reading

  1. Peni Griffin

    When I had a day job on the 15th floor, I’d walk the stairs coming and going (for exercise) and read on the way. People would tell me I was going to trip and fall, but the only times I ever, ever tripped on those stairs were times when I didn’t have a book for some reason.
    I don’t read and walk on the street, though, because there’s too many people for peripheral vision to track and most of them aren’t looking where they’re going.

  2. Lauren

    I read and walk all the time. When I was seven, I would read while riding my bike around my neighborhood. Drove my parents crazy, but I was fine…I always knew just when to turn and swerve and brake. I haven’t done that in recent years, but I still read and walk when I’m in the park.

  3. Margaret

    ‘If you have never said “Excuse me” to a parking meter or bashed your shins on a fireplug, you are probably wasting too much valuable reading time. ‘ — Sherri Chasin Calvo
    (Unfortunately I don’t know the source — I got the quotation from one or the other of the online quotation sites.)

  4. SuzzyPC

    I have not walked while reading except in my house. However, once when I was in 4th or 5th grade I rode my bicycle to the library to return my books and check out more. I couldn’t resist starting to read one when I was near home. I rode right into the back of a car. Pride damaged a bit, only sustained a bruise. I have not since read while biking. Wish I could remember the book I’d been reading.

  5. Shari Dash Greenspan

    My father used to tell about a boy in his neighborhood (the Lower East Side of NYC in the early 1940s) who always read while walking. On one occasion, the boy bumped into a lamp post. Without looking up from his book, he said “Excuse me, Ma’am,” and keep right on going.

  6. Anselm

    I always read my Kindle while walking. It’s boring looking at the same ol’ same ol’ every day, but the permutations of words in books is infinite, and infinitely engrossing. I’ve never yet bumped into any object, animate or inanimate, although I’ve come close a couple of times. (One eye for the book, one for the road….)

  7. Vicki Jaeger

    I read on the way home from school through junior high school. My sister was certain I was going to get hit by a car some day, but I *swear* I looked both ways before crossing all streets!


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