I am a voracious reader. I pretty much sequester myself into a corner and read at every break and lunch at work. I often have people make comments about it, but most approve. (I think) However the other day a guy in his mid 30's came up to me and told me he worries about me reading all the time, and said, "Shit man, you don't got to read no more man!" and held out his phone. I responded, "Sure I could go and brainlessly scroll through facebook, or hey I could go look at porn! Or hey I could go to youtube!" and laughed it off but it struck me deep for some reason.
The fact that most people do NOT read anymore worries me and that fact that my reading would concern him, are both worrisome to me. Through reading I have lived thousands of lives, I have crossed deserts as an arab sheik and soared amongst the mountaintops riding winged dragons, I have looked through the eyes of multitudes of others and experienced many things that I will never get to experience myself. I have explored the oceans depths and been on a spaceship exploring other planets and mined gold in Alaska. I have lived as a plains indian and a civil war soldier both, and experienced what it was like at the best and the worst of the human experience.
To NOT have done that would leave me a much less thoughtful and empathic person I think. Reading has brought me so much joy, and such painful heartache and an endless variety of places to explore in my imagination that I cannot ever imagine living without it. So hey, if you see some person sitting in the corner lost in a book, let them enjoy their time. That is their escape from the chains of that factory life and believe me they are not lonely, they are in another world doing things that you cannot imagine. Go ahead and scroll your phones, but live and let live I say...One day you might pick up a book and discover the joys inside it for yourself... I hope.