Flying is, in general, unpleasant — especially since September 11, 2001. While I by no means wish the TSA to disappear from security checkpoints, I find the entire process frustrating and possibly demeaning (if you have to go through those new body scanners).
The actual flights aren’t much better. You’re crammed like a sardine next to people you don’t know, forced to endure airline food and scary bathrooms that I just know are capable of sucking me out of the plane. Plus there’s the whole possibility of dying in a horrible, fiery crash.
But I’ll say one thing about flying: it’s a chance to get some serious reading done — on my last trip I read two and half books, with my only interruption being the flight attendant handing me my ginger ale. It was awesome.
Another fun thing about flying is that it’s a chance to see what other people are reading. Not only do I like seeing people reading, I take a secret sort of pleasure in reading over their shoulders and judging—just a little—based on the tome.
But as I was in the middle of happily judging a lady reading a cheap magazine, I realized that I wasn’t immune to being judged by what I was reading. What did my (young, attractive, male) seatmate think of the fact that I was reading Girl in the Arena? I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest: What would you think if you saw a grown woman reading this:
I always tell people not to be embarrassed by what they read, but sometimes that’s impossible, especially when you’re reading in close quarters six miles off the ground. Which is why I chose to read Haines’ novel rather than The Exile graphic novel, which included color drawings of things like this:
I figured it was a good idea to avoid reading what could technically be termed pornography — not only did I not want to embarrass myself, I didn’t want to embarrass anyone else either. The hazards of reading while airborne.
How do you entertain yourself on plane rides? Do you take a peek at what your neighbors are reading? Do you ever worry that they’re doing the same to you?