The Just In Case Book Habit


Getting to work for me is very difficult. Without going into too many details, I am not allowed to park at the building I work at and instead have to take a shuttle from the closest train station to the foot of a hill that the building sits on. It is maybe a five minute ride, sometimes longer or shorter depending on traffic and how long the bus sits before leaving. I generally carry a backpack to and from work. It allows me to carry more things than a purse as well as being easier on the back (it is quite a hill!). I pack that bag every day. In it might hold a laptop, wallet, badges, a lunch bag, a sweater, a hairbrush, an umbrella, and…a book.

When do I have time to read that book?

I typically don’t. But because of that five minute shuttle ride, I continually fool myself into believing that I would be completely amiss without packing that book. What if the shuttle takes forever to leave the stop? What if I’m waiting forever for it show up? I would lose out on all that time to make progress on my latest read.

But I don’t have time to read that book. At most, I might be able to read two pages depending on the book. Is that worth the damage the book takes in my bag? I had one book that ended up sporting the mess of an exploded leftover Chinese dinner that I was taking in for lunch. Most books get banged up corners, a bent cover, and other signs of being thrown into a bag with way too many things.

But it isn’t just for work that I carry a book, just in case. Going to the dump, the drive might be longer. While the fiance drives, might I have the chance to read? So I place a book in the door pocket just in case. Do I read it? No, because I get motion sick easily these days. I’m going out for the day to my parents. I bring a book, just in case.

Sometimes bringing a book with me is like a security blanket. It’s like having your best friend ready to bail you out of a bad date. While the time to read doesn’t present itself as often as I might hope when I bring my books with me, it isn’t a habit I’m likely to break any time soon. I’ve been bringing books with me just in case for almost as long as I have had the love to read. It is not surprising that such a habit would be hard to break, that it would provide such a sense of stability.

Perhaps this next time, I’ll want that just in case book.

Let’s chat! Do you bring books with you? When did it come in handy? Does it affect the kinds of bags you use?

pj - michelle

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