Why would you NOT bring something to read??

I had a doctor’s appointment today at one of the clinics (Fantus) of Cook County Hospital. I’ve been going to Cook County’s clinics for several years and like it a lot. The people are usually nice, it’s cheaper than a doctor’s office because you pay on a sliding scale, and my regular doctor there (I’ve been seeing the same one for 5 years) is really wonderful.

The one problem, though I long ago got used to it, is that there’s a lot of waiting involved. I never schedule anything else on the days I have to go there because I never know how long I’ll be there. My appointment today was at 1:00pm, and I consider myself pretty lucky that I got to see the doctor at about 4:30pm. It’s much worse at the walk-in clinic downstairs, where waits are often 6-10 hours. The emergency room is worse still. I had to be admitted a few weeks ago (I went to the clinic first and saw my doctor, and he sent me to the emergency room, so I wasn’t using it as a stand-in doctor) and I was in the waiting room for about 12 hours before I got to go back (btw, it’s nothing like what you see on ER). They take anyone who’s brought in via ambulance, anyone who’s bleeding, and anyone who’s in excruciating pain first.

Now, I generally don’t mind waiting anywhere, anytime, for anything, as long as I have something to read. As far as I’m concerned forced waiting like that is a perfect time to catch up on things I want to finish and things I want to start (I usually have 4-5 books going at once, and I always have at least 2-3 books with me at all times) and yet when I look around I’m usually the only one reading a book! There might be a few people reading the newspaper, but most people are just staring out into space or looking impatient and upset.

Certainly there are people sick/in pain for whatever it was that they came to see the doctor for in the first place, and some/many haven’t been there before and don’t realize that waiting is part of the process (and I feel very sorry for those people), but based on people who are very vocal complainers, a lot of them have been there before, and they know what it’s like, so why wouldn’t they bring a book or magazine with them every time? I often hear variations on the same thing: “IT’S LIKE THIS EVERY TIME I COME HERE, WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG??”

Geez, if it’s like that every time you go there, you should know that it’s going to BE like that EVERY TIME YOU GO THERE, so bring something to occupy your mind. A book, a magazine, a game, knitting, something, anything. It’s the people with nothing to read/do who are always the ones complaining and annoying other people with their complaining. I always want to say “complaining is not going to get you in any quicker” but those people often look like they want someone to focus their ire on and I’d rather just bury my head deeper into my book and try to shut them out.

I don’t mean to single out the types of people who go to clinics (I’m one, after all), because I see this all the time. Standing in a line waiting for a box office to open to buy tickets, standing in line at an amusement park, all kinds of situations. People called in for jury duty are like that too. Not every place is like a dentist’s office where there are magazines to read to pass the time.

I have standby jury duty tomorrow. I’ll be there from 8:30am to at least 4:30pm, and chances are I’ll spend most of that time in the waiting room. The summons specifically says to bring something to read, but if it’s like the other times I’ve gone, I’ll be one of the few with something to read. I’ll let you know.

I was going to put this in the Pit, but it’s way too mild. Anyway, I’m not mad as much as I’m perplexed.

I was at a Kaiser clinic I don’t ordinarily go to (dermatology) recently, and the only magazine available was a Good Housekeeping from 2000. Usually, the selection’s better than that, but I always keep a book or magazine in my car in case I suspect a wait is ahead of me.

Because for a lot of people, reading is actually worse than having nothing to do.

I don’t understand it either.

Unfortunately, for some people, “I’m bored because I have nothing to do” translates as “where’s the TV?” Suggesting to these people that they might read a book is likely to get the same response as suggesting they might enjoy licking the walls.

Ah, on review, Little Nemo beat me to the punch.

A generation ago I read somewhere that half the adult population in the U S had never read a book in their life, outside schoolwork. I cannot imagine that statistic has improved any. The dolts don’t bring anything to read because it is not a part of their lives.

The jury waiting room I was in here did have a couple T V sets (sound off, captions on) and lots of decks of cards. There were a couple impromptu games of hearts going on so at least there was more social interaction there than I was offering with my Clavell novel.


Did you get any recipe ideas?

The statistic on adult reading just quoted depressed the hell out of me, and not just because I’m a librarian, either.

I don’t understand why people are so averse to reading. I was on a jury for a felony trial once, and I was the only person who brought something to read for the five days of the trial. I mean, after the mind-numbing boredom of day one, you’d think people could at least purchase and stomach People Magazine or Hot Rod or something, but no. I talk to people all the time who say, “I don’t read.” To me, that’s sort of like saying, “I don’t think.”


I just went to check in my purse, and I have four paperbacks in there. I am Prepared. However, there’s been a few times when I’ve been in so much pain that I could not read. For an appointment, whether it’s medical, business, or social, though, I always make sure I have at least two books with me, possibly more, and possibly a small portable bit of handwork, too. I am not interested in lugging along the shawl or quilt that I’m making, unless it’s just one section of that work. Cross stitch, by the way, travels very nicely in a large zipseal bag.

My husband and I stayed at his parents’ house for a couple of days when we were first married. These people literally did not have so much as yesterday’s newspaper in the house. The TV section was around, and there was a Bible, but that was IT. My mind boggled.

If I’m the only one in the waiting room, and the TV is on, I’ve been known to ask if I can turn it off, especially if it’s on a soap opera.

I’m not really very social and I’m not generally the type to get into conversations with people. I’d play cards though, if I knew the game. I love spades and canasta. It’s sad to hear about people who never read books. I can’t imagine it, but then I grew up lonely on a farm where especially in the winter there wasn’t much to do except read. I used to read encyclopedias and Books of Knowledge for fun. I don’t mean that everyone should have highbrow or “educational” tastes (heck, one of the books I just started is by Ann Rule, the one I finished today is “Hackers” by Steven Levy, which I’ve read at least 10 times), but to not read anything, ever? Ooof.

I know exactly what you mean, I see these people staring off into space in a waiting room like Puddy from Seinfeld and I wonder what is going on in their heads.

But for waiting rooms or the DMV I prefer newspapers because I find that there are usually a lot of distractions. With a paper, I can jump around the articles, and if I’m interrupted or it is time for my appointment, I can just leave the paper for the next person.

What I hate is that now a lot of waiting rooms will have TVs in them. My doctor’s office broadcast this special CNN health channel that appears to be made specifically for waiting rooms. Evil Evil Evil.

I have students who regularly report in their anonymous course evaluations that one of the books I assign is the only book they’ve ever read all the way through. High praise for the book (The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down), and depressing as hell.

Some of the people in emergency rooms may have had to go there because of an emergency. Perhaps things were urgent enough that they didn’t have time to grab a mystery novel on the way out the door.

I hear ya. I haven’t had a car for many years (though that has recently changed), so I spend a lot of time waiting for busses. I’ve always got at least one book with me, which I can read while I wait. I like to read while I eat, which is one reason I usually dine alone. In my years in the restaurant business, I’ve never understood people who come in to eat alone, don’t talk to anybody, and sit there staring at the table or the wall while they eat. I even take a book to work to read when I take a smoke break. The view from the smoking area outside never changes, and I rarely take my breaks at the same time as other people, so I carry the book out there with me.

I’ve found a good, simple way to identify the nonreaders. They’re the ones who will sit down near you while you’ve got your nose in a book, and try to start a conversation with you. Because they’re not readers themselves, it simply never occurs to them that maybe the reason you’re reading a book is because you want to read the damn book. :rolleyes:

That’s one of the best things I’ve read in a long time! Your words prompt me to ask, do you mind if I use that as a sig quote? Also, your user name prompts me to ask, “Are you single?” :smiley:

It sounds like on average these people are waiting for hours on end, so the emergencies can’t be bad enough that they couldn’t grab a newspaper or book. I, as do a few other people that have already commented, keep a book in my car for this exact reason.

If they aren’t wearing a suit (meaning they are probably on business, which explains why they are probably alone) and seem like the non-stabby type, I try and sit near or next to these people, especially if at a cafe or bar area. Even the none social types are shocked enough that I would sit next to them, so they start talking to me.

Who needs to “stop and grab”? I always have a book with me. Right now, I have one in my purse, one in both of our household cars (in case I finish the one in my purse) and one in my desk at work. When I travel, I have at least half a dozen, stashed in multiple bags in case of luggage loss.

I honestly believe they think you’re so lonely that you’ve resorted to reading almost as a cry for help. The outdoor smoking areas are the worst places for this. Something about the shared exile makes people want to connect with others. Several times, I haven’t even waited to finish my cigarette before fleeing the area, annoyed beyond all bearing by someone who will not shut up and let me read in peace.

It’s not only non-readers who do this. “What’cha reading?” is a friendly question, but it’s not one which can always be answered in a simple way. You can give them the title, but it almost inevitably leads to a query as to the subject. I read a lot of books which can’t be easily descibed in a sentence or two. Then, they want to tell you what they’ve read recently.

Not me, buddy. I would be seriously creeped-out and increasingly terse until you got the message and left me alone. The few times I’ve eaten alone at a resturant, I’ve brought a book with me.

Haha That is even better. Sometimes I prefer the creeped out people. :smiley:

Just so you know, if the person (and I mean this for all social-interactions) makes any hint of wanting to be left alone, especially if bluntly said, I respect it.

Yah. In my smoke break situation, where I work there are three main jobs. In the two jobs that I don’t do, there are three or more people doing each of those jobs. Their breaks tend to be synchronized - they’re either all busy at the same time, or all in a lull at the same time, so they all tend to go for a smoke together and have somebody to chat with. I’m the only one who does my job, so I’m sort of on my own little schedule over here, and I take my breaks when I see fit. Which is usually when none of the others are taking a break. I go smoke alone :cool:

I hate that question too! Especially since I’m usually halfway through the second 600-page book of a fantasy trilogy when the question is asked, and it’s just too much work to answer the followup question, “What’s it about?” Of course, I usually get asked “What’s it about?” when I’m on page seven, and I want to answer, “Hell if I know! I haven’t been able to get past page seven because people keep asking me what I’m reading!” :smiley:

I’m this way, too. I’ve been chided for bringing books to occasions where people thought it was inappropriate (although, in my defense, I didn’t bring a book to my own wedding).

One time, while visiting Toronto, all I had was a book I’d just bought at the Eaton Centre. While waiting in line at the CN Tower I finished the book (And it wasdn’t all that thin a book). I had nothing else to read, so I had to start reading it again.