Saturday, August 18, 2007

Heart and Reading Rates

I don't have a lot of patience for those crepe-hangers who like to bemoan the fate of the book. Faced with the looming onslaught of technical devices with which to read, they wring their hands and clutch their beloved copies of Great Expectations to their heaving bosoms, vowing never to let ear buds invade their ear drums. They are annoyingly certain that only their imagination is the perfect conduit for an author's words, not some narrator and they don't want any gadgetry getting in the way of their printed pleasure.

Today I'm here to tell those folks to keep their dust jackets on, the printed book isn't going anywhere. My experience this morning while out for a run is proof.

Armed with a bottle of water and my CD player, I slipped the latest disc of the audio book I'm reviewing (and enjoying) into the player, set the volume, adjusted the ear pieces and kicked up my heels on a dusty track.

Halfway through the thrilling and perfectly narrated disc, it started to hiccup like an annoying drunk imparting much needed driving directions. I ignored it. I wasn't missing much of the story. It blipped, skipped, and hicc'd for the next half hour. So much so that my heart rate is unmeasurable at the end of the run, it's skipping and blipping along to the CD.

I cooled down (hardly) by walking and trying to hold the player to keep it from skittering. I was at a good part and I really wanted to hear what happened next. I held the player down by my side, over my head, stuffed it in my pocket. Nothing helped. I gave up and fumed the last quarter mile. "If I had a real book this wouldn't happen. I could hold the book up in front of my face and turn pages. Of course, I'd have to stop at crosswalks. And it might be difficult to follow the words if I'm bouncing while I'm running. But at least I'd be able to read all the damn words!"

This isn't the first time this player has sputtered its way through a workout. But I'd had it with technology by the time I got home. I left the CD player on the porch after I removed the disc and batteries. I got a cup of coffee and a hammer and went onto the porch for the upper body portion of the exercise hour.

You can't imagine how great it is to beat the hell out of a worn out CD player. There are little pieces of plastic and metal artfully scattered on my porch. I'll clean it up later.

Right now, I just had to share my firm belief that the printed book isn't on its way out, so ya'll eye-readers can just settle. And I need to order an iPod and sign up for Audible.

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