I haven’t been reading as much since I’ve moved. A big part of that is due to longer having my subway commute. You can’t exactly read while you’re driving, owing to the whole, y’know, fact that you’re driving. I’m sure I could put on an audiobook (though it’s not the same), but I do wish my subway reading time. I’m also still steadily moving into my new place, and there’s this persistent itch to unpack a few more boxes.
Plus, reading is something that commands your full attention. I’m not someone who likes to read a page or two of a novel in snatches, not anymore, at least; chapters are intentional breaks and I like to make the most of them. It’s hard to make time for reading when you’re not on a subway train. When playing a game like Destiny I can put on a podcast or watch Last Week Tonight. I’m not just playing a game, I’m being productive (in working through a podcast backlog).
I think therein lies a personal struggle: an internalized capitalist outlook at my personal Time. Making the most of it is of utmost importance, so it’s best to fill up that time. I can’t just watch Last Week Tonight, I should be doing something alongside it. Playing a video game is me accomplishing something, isn’t it?
The flip side is that this sort of multitasking precludes the joy of getting lost in something. Why I love watching a movie in the cinema is being in a space where all my attention is in one place; it’s why I liked reading on the subway, where there was usually nothing else worth my attention but the book in my hands. In those spaces, there’s nowhere else to be, nothing else to do.
Getting lost in a book is one of my favorite things in the world. During lockdown, I carved out time for reading, amidst my very busy schedule of doing nothing much. It took an effort, for sure, to make it a practice, but, let me tell you, there’s nothing like getting whisked away to Middle-earth as you reread The Lord of The Rings. Maybe spending an afternoon with nothing more than a good book and a nice drink is good enough, and maybe making the time to do nothing but read is my own act of resistance against a capitalist mindset.