Friday, November 25, 2011

Unwanted E-ttention

I like people. I do.

But as a busy mother who works full-time outside the house, when I find the time to read, and not talk, and not have someone bugging me, I cherish it. And when that time is jeopardized, I get cranky.

But I like people. I do.

My lack of technological skills and my tendency to be lagging in this high tech e-world is on-going. I don’t have the time or patience to sit with a new gadget, read instructions and fiddle with it.

So when I recently was given an e-reader to ‘try out,’ my tear ducts were given a run for their money. I was given the ‘simple’ model because I can’t handle anything with more than three buttons.

Well….it wasn’t so simple. I won’t reveal the model because that wouldn’t be fair to the company. It’s not their fault I am a complete dolt when it comes to this stuff.

So I have sort of figured out how to buy and download books – and not cry. Sort of – not really.

But the instructions don’t tell you of certain side-effects of owning an e-reader.

One morning while watching my son at his swimming lessons (a perfect time to read), I had one eye on the boy and I had just pulled out my e-reader when I heard, “Excuse me, is that one of those e-readers?”

A very nice elderly lady beside me stared intently at the gadget in my hands.

She wanted to know all about it. We exchanged a few words and she asked a bunch of questions I couldn’t answer. I told her I was new at it and really didn’t know much about it (which is dumb because I was READING on it, wasn’t I?), but the questions and comments still kept coming.


Feeling a lull in the conversation I casually went back to my ‘book.’ Settling into chapter one, word number four, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a male voice proclaimed,

“Hey, is that an e-reader? I really want one of those!”

The fellow introduced the lady as his mother-in-law (I caught that eye roll), and now we were all one big happy family – talking about the e-reader.

The son-in-law peppered me with questions about the e-reader, despite me explaining again and again that I was new at it. Kids/grandkids near and far were all but forgotten.

Him: “Is it compatible with a … (insert high tech thing here).”

Me: “I don’t know. I’m new at it.”

Him: “Can you do… (insert funky function here).”

Me: “I don’t know. I’m new at it.”

Mother-in-Law: “Does it have a light?”

Me: “I don’t know. I’m new at it.”

And on it went.

My eyes were starting to sting and water, and I wasn’t sure if it was out of frustration or from the high levels of chlorine. I just wanted to read. The humidity in the place always plays havoc with my hair, and my make-up slides off my face. I usually look like a Halloween-leftover in two seconds. So why – what about me – do people feel they need to interrupt me?

All I wanted to do was read the book that made me cry throughout the downloading process.

Two days later I was on the bus. When I read on the bus I curl up in the corner, don’t look up, don’t make eye contact with anyone, and keep my eyes on my book.

But buses are like sardine cans. Everyone is squished together, and you are in it for the long haul – or at least until your stop. And there is no getting away from anyone.

So there I was with my e-reader, and of course….someone sat down beside me.

And of course, the questions started to which I had no answers for. Oh for God’s sake - I just wanted to read.

Do I see other e-reader readers being hounded by non-e-reader readers? No one bothered me when I was reading PAPERbacks! Why me? I didn’t make eye contact; I wasn’t exuding welcoming pheromones or anything. Why? WHY? I need to look grouchier, I think.

All I know is that my problem with my e-reader is not that I don’t understand how it works.

It’s just that it attracts too much attention.


  1. Great post. I've had similar experiences ever since I started Kindling, so I know what you mean. ...Yet, you say it so well.
    Happy Writing

  2. Thank you, it that you have been 'Kindling.' Thank you for reading and for your kind words. Lisa

  3. ROTFL, er, at least that's what I've been told you put for 'roll on the floor laughing'. Loved it, Lisa, I've just been given one for my birthday so I have lots to look forward to.

  4. So far Lisa - I've been 'secretly' reading on my Kindle inside so that I don't have to deal with the questions.
    I'm still on the learning curve - as you are.

  5. Good luck, Barb...that's all I have to say. And don't come to me for advice. Thank you for reading! Lisa

  6. VERY smart of you, Jodie. Read it on the sly - it's for the best. Thank you for reading! Lisa

  7. LOL! Makes me glad that I don't take mine out in public much.

  8. It gets worse. I've had my kindle for awhile. So for some reason people seem to think this makes me an expert on tablets as well - NOT!

  9. I love this blog....and I've had similar problems while reading on my Kindle also. I just tell everyone it's the old model and the new Fire is coming out soon...then I pepper them with a bunch of bogus info until their eyes glaze over and bingo!! I get back to reading again.

  10. I use my e-reader a lot in public and haven't been bugged very much - but just enough that I'm really aware of what kind of books and scenes I read in public. What if someone comes along and wants to see how it works - and the page I have on screen is a sex scene? Yikes! Or a gritty scene from a suspense novel where a serial killer is torturing a victim? But I suspect this isn't a problem we're going to have for long. It seems that every month, if not every week, I see more and more e-readers in people's hands. Imagine a day in the future when you're reading a paperback, and someone comes along and says, "Oh my gosh, is that, like, a real book? Can I touch it?" LOL.

  11. That's right, Angela! Best to keep it hidden! Thank you for reading - Lisa

  12. So come on, Pat....why can't you be an expert in tablets, spaceships and everything else in between? Thank you for sharing and reading! Lisa

  13. Excellent strategy, Mimi!!!! Will have to use that technique, for sure. Maybe if I ramble on and on, I will make them sorry for ever bothering me! Thank you for reading! Lisa

  14. Oh great, Susan - now something else for me to worry about when some asks me about it - being aware of what's on the screen. Must stick to something 'interesting' like the molecular composition of bananas! Thank you for reading. Lisa