You Know You Read Too Much When…

Last week, I got nerd-shamed by a car.

I had just been for my weekly visit to the localish library (behold my resplendent self-control), and was proceeding to depart the carpark in the usual manner, i.e. in a car, when I beheld a warning light upon the dashboard.

Lit up in red, the combination of a pictogram and a numeral, the warning light was there to inform me that the front seat passenger did not have their seatbelt on.

This was a matter of concern. Not because of the increased danger to life and limb caused by an absence of seatbelt-wearing, nor even because the driver of a car containing an unseatbelted person (if under 15) can be fined for the omission. No. This was a matter of concern because I was alone in the car.

Alone, that is, except for the “passenger” in the front seat – my bag of freshly-issued library books. (In my defence, there were only five of them! Admittedly, three were largish hardbacks, and the other two were large-print, but still!)

Putting my library-book-fed brain to work, I noted that the bag was leaning against the back of the seat, and wondered if that was at the root of the issue. One good shove, and my hypothesis was proved correct. The warning light went off, and I went on my way.

Front seat passenger indeed! Tchah!

And then yesterday happened. Yesterday I had six books. No warning light sprang to life as I crawled through the carpark, and I thought I had left it all behind me. How wrong I was.

Waiting until I had exited the carpark and was on the actual road, the car set up a beeping, or possibly bonging. Not only was I carrying an unbuckled passenger, it felt, but I was also accelerating to Driving On The Real Road speeds. Horror! Beeping (or bonging) absolutely called for!

Beeping, to my mind, called for another hearty shove, as did bonging. Carefully negotiating the large roundabout, I issued said shove, and the car, apparently content in the belief that I had defenestrated or otherwise expelled my unsecured passenger on to the road as I drove, fell silent.

Luis Prado, CC-BY | Noun Project
Luis Prado, CC-BY

Until I was approaching home. Perhaps it was the speed bumps, or the turn off the main road. It could have been a lingering desire to chastise me for surplus bookage, or possibly even a sudden spasm of guilt at having driven me to slaughter my passenger. Whatever the cause, the car summoned up a few more disapproving bongs (or beeps) as I and my excessive quantity of hardcopy knowledge travelled the last hundred metres and stopped at the gate.

I don’t know – is having an inanimate object scold you for too many books worse than having an actual person doing so? What’s your experience?

6 Replies to “You Know You Read Too Much When…”

  1. In the car’s defence, I wouldn’t assume that it was specifically targeting book-readers. I’ve had it happen with groceries too. (Or maybe your car thinks you read too much and my car thinks I eat too much…)

    1. No doubt this car would accuse me of over-eating too, except I foil it by putting groceries in the boot instead of on the front seat. Food for thought, thank you!

  2. These are the trials of modern times! Those of us who still drive cars from the previous millenium are not bothered by such beeps and bongs.

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