Thursday, March 3, 2011

Compulsive Much?

The question of the day: What do illiterate people do with their brains all day long?

That's actually a real question, not a put down. I can't even imagine trying to get by in this society without being able to read. That's one of the key "I wouldn't be where I am right now" forks in the road.

But I really meant that more on a minute to minute level. My brain goes into its own version of hyperventilating when I'm stuck in one place and there aren't words printed in front of me. For example, I read the ad copy on the bottle of detergent while I'm doing the dishes. I read all the bumper stickers and license plate holders while I walk the dogs. The two toaster ovens at work have similar but not identical wording on the glass fronts about not opening the door if something is on fire inside. (That last one came in handy at home this evening. Mmm. Burning butter on homemade rye toast. Does it get any better than that?) I know this because I have nothing else to read in that corner of the kitchen while I'm waiting for my dinner to heat up, so I read the wording on one, then the wording on the other, then back to the first, and so on until either my food is hot or I wander over to read the OSHA posters.

I think I may pay for that compulsive reading by an inability to notice anything that isn't written. I am possibly the least observant person I've ever met. I have to look at my house to know what color the paint is. I only noticed one car parked partially under another one because the smashed up one had words on it. Otherwise I probably would have walked by and never even seen it.

I'm probably not alone in this compulsion, but it really does make me wonder. What would I have been like in a non-literate society?

Let me read up on that and get back to you...


JJ said...

I compulsively read things, too, but not to the same extent. Rich is more annoying about it because he sometimes reads them out loud.

I am also amazingly non-observant. When Rich and I met for the first time, I was lost (shocker!) and couldn't find where we were supposed to meet. He asked my friend and me to describe what we saw around us so he could come and get us unlost. We started naming stores and restaurants. Then he asked if there was a statue of Lenin. Um, WHAT?! We looked and looked - no statue of Lenin. Then we turned another 360 degrees, and there was a 10-15ft statue of Lenin right behind us. Next to the stores we listed off for him.

Karen said...

the best reason to get a smartphone: reading on the toilet at work

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

JJ: It's good to know I'm not the only one. The statue thing -- could have been me, very easily.

K-poo: That's the best reason I've heard yet, but if I start hiding out in the bathroom at work I'll never come out during business hours.

Eric said...

I start hiding out in the bathroom at work I'll never come out during business hours.

If you make the right noises every once in awhile nobody will question it.

jeff said...

I just started trying to read 'moby dick' on my droid and my finger is tired. I think I'll go back to 'angry birds'.