Dear Emily,

Reading on public transit again

Lately I have gone back to reading a book on the bus and subway on my way to work. My son scolded me last week for being such an easy target to some people reading on my smart phone. He took my Samsung Note, waved it in the air saying, “Yoo hoo, come and pick me! It’s worth $700” and it sounded more like “No need to pick pocket, it is yours for the taking.”  We then had a discussion about that. I mentioned I rarely took my phone out on the subway because I had seen three teens grab a man’s phone and run out the doors just before they were closing. Well, he scolded me even more as if I were his child or student (he’s a high school teacher).

“Yeah but,” I started.  Gee, come to think of it 25 years ago when he was 10, he was the one who always said, “Yeah but, Dad” arguing a point with his dad.  I had nicknamed him Yabut instead of Abbot!  I tried to assure him that people riding the bus off the island of Montreal to the suburbs all read on their phones, i-pads etc.  He kept shaking his head, lifted his hands in the air, “Do what you want. This is why women are such easy targets. Rarely will a woman run after someone who grabs her phone or tablet. And people who mean to steal know that.” Well, I guess he is right there and it was not the time to say it was actually a young man who got robbed on the subway the other day and it was “taken by surprise” that wins usually.  And I was touched that he was concerned about his mom.

So this week I started going back to my old habits which is nice because I also missed reading.  I am very expressive wherever I may be, such as a doctor’s waiting room, the license bureau or a bus.  When I get to a passage that moves me, I will smile, chuckle and yes, cry too. The first three chapters of The Hunger Games, I wore my sunglasses on the subway because I could NOT stop the tears, the violence (physically and emotionally) was just so intense. I only read this book last year because so many youths who call read it and wanted to be a bit more in touch with some characters. If the kids are anything like me, we tend to relate and get some characters under our own skin. I was Nancy Drew and Cathy Ames for years as a child, then as a teen became Marie Curie.  Oh, I was Sainte Thérese for many years too and would be washing those floors for Mother Superior day after day after day.  “I never promised you a Rose Garden” was one book Sister Dufferin gave me when I was 15 and I could not finish the book as I became Sylvia…I could literally hear all the voices dragging me into their consciousness, I thought I was losing my mind. I eventually read the book in my early thirties.  Later I tried to read the diaries of Virginia Wolfe and managed two and a half but had to stop, as there too, I became that scared, frightened child who grew up so misunderstood by her “expert” doctors.

That said, {I digress. Yes, I know…I am getting there, Emily but you know me. I get sidetracked sometimes}, I like to read some books my callers read to see what is “affecting or infecting” their minds.   Violence does not seem to affect youths as it did me as a youth.  I suppose you could blame it on violent video games but let’s face it. Really! Let’s be honest. When I was growing up I found Bugs Bunny and Road Runner quite funny and they are sooo violent!  It is just the scenery that has changed but perhaps we are not that much different.  I really don’t know the answser to that one.

I remember going to a movie with a friend/volunteer from a distress centre, years ago in Toronto. He had made dinner at his condo and we ate and chatted a bit too long.  Well, I AM a woman and a chatterbox, and he is Italian…so meals tend to drag on a long time. We arrived at the cinema just in time but most of the good seats were taken.  We had to sit in the front. I still do not remember the movie except it was terribly violent and Vince and I would hide our eyes so often.  I recall turning around to look at the teens and young adults sitting around us and they did not “appear” to be troubled by this.  It dawned on me then,  how many “seem” desensitized to violence. If that is the case, how can we stop the violence and wars that exist today? Most youths will tell me scoffing, “We know it’s not real!”  But I wonder if the mind can be exposed to all that blood and gore and still…

Now, Emily, how the heck did I get on reading to violence again? Oh yeah, my emotional reaction wherever I read…yeah, that’s it. Maybe I am old enough to not care if I am reading Erma Bombeck and chuckling alone at the back of the bus, or weeping at a tragic passage or part that makes me reflect on my life. When a book, story, article or poem does that to me, it means the writer touched my soul.

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/04/25

 

5 thoughts on “Dear Emily,

    1. You are so wise!! when we dislike someone, we have to ask ourselves (humbly) what is it about myself I am worried I may relate on some level with this person that gets on my nerves?

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  1. Cheryl, that reminds me of something you might like: books by Ned Vizzini. I’m reading them all and you may enjoy ”This is kind of a funny story”. It’s just from the perspective of the depressed/suicidal/ odd-one-out youth who call us. Unfortunately, Vizzini just committed suicide at the age of 32 but he wrote from his experience as a depressed teens and helped many with his novels.

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    1. Thanks for reading and Thanks for this recommendation! I may check it out. This reminds me of Alan Carr who has written many books on addiction, the first how to quit smoking which cured me. He died 20 years after he wrote this with smoke related illnesses but his book lives on and still helps people.

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