I spend the better part of most days reading and writing. In recreational reading alone, I average about 150 hours per month. (How do I know? My e-reader software actually tracks my reading hours.) When the time I spend reading things like paper books, the Interweebs, and work documents is factored in, I think the grand total would be closer to 275, or maybe even 300 hours a month.

Recently I performed a thought experiment on myself: if I had a whole day during which I had lost the ability to read and write, how would I spend it? What would I do all day?

First, I would use my voice-command smart phone to call in sick to work. “I’m sorry; I am unexpectedly unlettered, so I will not be in. I’ll be back to work soon with what I hope will be a written note from the doctor . . . you’ll have to tell me”.

Somehow I think I’d manage to fill the hours with:

Cleaning (I like to clean—weird, I know)

I think one unlettered day would likely be manageable.

More than one would be another matter. I think I’d get a bit squirrelly. I might start creeping around used bookstores, inhaling the scent of old glue from the book spines. Or I’d be found staring at a page of the newspaper, tears welling up in my eyes as I willed myself to understand. Eventually, I think I’d go to the library to see about some graphic novels. Looking at the pictures, I’d mutter what I would suppose the storyline might be. Eventually the librarian would get sick of me, and kick me out: “Get out of here, Chloe! You are always mumbling to yourself and cackling like a fiend. There’s no talking in the library, you know.”

Not a pretty picture, I know. If you had to spend one day without the ability to read, how woudl you spend it?

2 thoughts on “What I’d Do if I Couldn’t Read

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