, , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was reading on my iPad sitting in the baggage claim section of United Airlines when a stranger’s shadow crossed over me. I felt like maybe I should scream. This person was way too close. He was definitely, as they say, invading my personal space.

Baggage claim was so quiet. Why was this person so close?

Then I heard a voice. “Don’t you love those iPads? You can just read them anywhere. I keep mine in the car all the time.”

I looked up at a metallic-haired man with a dark tan and very white teeth. He was so excited about this technology that he stopped in his tracks to discuss it with me, a stranger, in the middle of reading a book. Jeffrey Englander’s book, to be specific. What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank.

“Yeah, they’re great.” That’s what I said. But I have mixed feelings about my iPad. I’m happy to have instant access to thousands of books, but unhappy that I can’t physically riffle through its pages or doodle in it.

I have mixed feelings about this metallic-haired man, too. Much as I love talking with strangers, when I’m in the middle of a good book I don’t want to be interrupted. If I’d had my nose buried in a book instead of an iPad, chances are he would have walked on by and left my personal space, well, personal.

It seems my iPad made me appear as instantly accessible as the books it makes available to me. That’s technology for you—sometimes all that instant accessibility makes me feel like I could scream.