I try to be mindful whenever I can. I enjoy the small things, I try to look for the good, I smell the roses, etc., etc., etc. Being in the moment generally helps me stay happier and more focused. However, I recently took a job that requires me to drive for five hours per day, twice per week. Remaining mindful and enjoying the drive lasted for about an hour. After that, I just wished I could be doing something more productive or interesting. In particular, I wanted to be reading.
I know what you’re going to say: “Audiobooks!” I appreciate that this is the exact situation that audiobooks were designed to improve. Unfortunately, I have never been able to get into them. I’m a visual person and I have a hard time focusing on purely auditory information. What I want is one of those self-driving cars from Minority Report so I can set it to take me to work while I relax and read. While I’m driving, I think the ideal book would be some sort of adventure book – something involving exploring all of the woods and nature through which I’m passing. The Lord of the Rings or The Hunger Games or something similar would be perfect. You’d think I’d say a travel book (such as Road Fever by Tim Cahill or Roads: Driving America’s Great Highways by Larry McMurty) would be ideal, but I know myself. I would start reading a travel book and I would drive straight past my destination and off into the sunset.
There are other “dead air” times when I wish I could be reading. As I previously mentioned, I’m a horrible sleeper. I waste a good amount of time trying to fall asleep when I could be reading. Of course, the dilemma is that a good book will keep me awake. I would need something that would be mildly interesting. I have no interest in history or books about historical events, so it might really help if I could read a book such as A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (I love Bryson but even he couldn’t get me through this one). Over time, I’m sure some of that information would seep into my brain while also putting me to sleep. Win-win!
I’m sure most people would agree with me that some of the most difficult places to remain pleasantly in the moment are while in a meeting and while standing in line. Reading a corporate America book such as JPod or Then We Came to the End would probably help those meetings pass quicker. I usually spend my time in lines wondering about the other people who are also in line. I think a book such as Yes Man would really make me wonder about what’s going on with those around me (and their real reasons for being in line with me).
I hesitate to add this final situation since I really don’t do it as much as I should. I would probably clean much more often if I could multitask while reading. I usually choose to read (or do just about anything else) instead of cleaning. Perhaps if I had special books that could only be read while cleaning, I’d be more interested in actually mopping the floor. I have no idea what sort of magical book might encourage me, but I am open to suggestions!
I’m sure there are other times that you must endure but wish you could be reading. Which books would pair nicely with those situations?