Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Absentminded tourism

I have to read a trillion books in French. I'm trying to figure out where best to do this--a library? my apartment? the park? a coffee shop?-- and have come up with the answer: the subway. I read best on the subway, where it's not so much that there are no distractions as that the whole point of the subway is not looking up at anyone else and just keeping to yourself. Which means, if you don't have a book, that you have to be careful where you direct your glance, as a blank stare in the wrong direction could lead to making a new friend you'd never wanted. But, if you are lucky enough to have a book, or to have a neighbor with a decent one, you will look at the text and nothing but the text up till, and perhaps a bit past, your intended stop.

So I made more headway in Proust on a 40-minute trip on the 4/5 than I did in an hour in a coffee shop. The only problem with the subway plan is I'm not sure it's the best idea to take a book and ride subway lines from one end to the next, completely distracted from my surroundings. This may be post-Giuliani, $50-million-brownstone New York, but it's still probably a mistake to sit on the train for hours on end with a 2000-page book in French, looking like an absentminded tourist.

And speaking of absentminded tourism, whatever happened to that Comedy Central show, Wanderlust? If you find Borat/Ali G at all amusing, you'd find this show perhaps even more so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how do you carry a 2000-page book?