Alogotransiphobia doesn’t just strike me when I’m on the bus. Whenever I travel anywhere I try to take a book along. To the DMV. To movie theaters. To take the paper to the shredding truck. Anywhere there might be a line. There comes a time when you realize every second is a gift, and time runs swiftly through the glass. Life’s too short not to read. So it is that I find myself in a hotel for a night. Feeling somewhat like taking a risk, I’ve only brought three books. Will I read them all tonight? Most likely not. But just in case…
Alogotransiphobia is real. In my long-distance commuting days—in a past still very recent—I tried to calculate carefully. Would I finish this book in the three hours I knew I’d have on New Jersey Transit? If even a chance seemed to exist that I would, I would add another book to my bag. But then that occasional Monday morning would arrive when somehow Sunday night seemed to slip away unbidden, leaving me bleary eyed and foggy brained to face pre-dawn alone on a deserted street corner. And I neglected to calculate the chances. Once in a great while, on such a day I would finish a book only to face a very long ride home without another. Alogotransiphobia would kick in. I would squirm in my seat as well as in my mind, anxious to get off that bus, as if I needed to shower to wash the feeling of wasted time off me. A commute without a book was remaindered, unrecoverable time. Lost time. Squandered.
For two months now I’ve been delivered from the daily commuting life. Now I find the opposite phobia. That which entails staying at home and having so much to do that time to read is stolen back by that cosmic trickster we call fate. I try to carve out time for reading, but the funny thing about work is that when you do it from home you feel you have to prove yourself. I suspect employers know that. A certain type of worker—perhaps one who’s lost a job or two in recent years—will always reach for supererogation. And such a one will even sacrifice literacy on the altar of an assured paycheck. Until recent days I was like a hermit on the bus. Those around me may have been going in the same direction but we were in completely separate places. I was, during the commute, lost in a book. Alogotransiphobia was in the seat right beside me.
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