Is That a Vagina on Your Kindle, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
*It’s pertinent to note that I typed this yesterday while on the plane to Miami. You’ll see why this is pertinent in a minute.
But before I get to the story, I’m gonna talk a little about my new Kindle. Go ahead and skip down to point #4 if you want to get straight to the story.
Remember how I told you I won that Kindle at the Christmas party? If you’re not sure what a Kindle is, I’m sure you’re not alone – I had only a vague idea before I owned one of my very own, and I wasn’t even sure it was something I’d want until it was something I had. It’s basically a flat, lightweight electronic reading device. You can buy and download books from Amazon.com, and an instant later it’s magically uploaded to the Kindle. The screen is not bright like a computer. It’s strange and wondrous and for the most part, I like it. Especially for travel.
Except also not.
Because while it makes it easy to carry about ten-gagillion books with you while weighing next to nothing, it does have a few notable downsides:
1. You have to turn off all electronic devices while the plane is taking off and landing. I like to read while the plane is taking off and landing. A Kindle is an electronic device.
2. Buying electronic books doesn’t save you a considerable amount of money. I’ve noticed they’re a few dollars less than brand new ink-on-paper books on Amazon, but you can actually find the used ink-on-paper books for less than an electronic book. Also, as far as I can tell, I can’t loan my electronic books to my friends. I suppose this could be a good thing if your friends like to steal your books, but I figured it was worth mentioning.
3. No one can see the title of the book you’re reading. Of course, in some cases this could probably save you considerable embarrassment if you’re reading something like The Gossip Girl series (it’s a vice, don’t judge). But when you feel like you’re reading something that makes you look intelligent, you want people to notice, you know? You want people to look at you and say, “Oooh. She’s reading Sophie’s Choice. I heard that’s a doozy. She must be really intelligent.” What’s more, letting people see the title of your book could also save you from embarrassment (see point 4).
4. Story time. I was sitting at my gate in the Raleigh airport waiting for my flight to board, when this very pleasant-looking Indian woman (dot, not feather) walked up with her bags on a cart and sat down next to me. She looked a little lonely, so we chatted awhile until we reached that inevitable point of conversation between most strangers when we ran out of things to say. So I pulled the Kindle out of my bag, turned it on, and asked her whether she’d ever used one. See, she travels quite frequently for her job, and I hadn’t yet fully learned the downsides of traveling with a Kindle. So far I’d been pretty thrilled with it.
She said she’d never used one, so I handed it to her so she could take a closer look.
And here’s where it gets dicey.
What I forgot is that I had recently started reading, Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut.
What I forgot is that the Kindle opens to the page where you last left off.
What I forgot is that on the page I’d last read, Kurt (we’ve been on a first-name basis since I read and fell in love with his short story Harrison Bergeron in the 8th grade) was talking explicitly about womens’ panties and the body parts found therein.
And, my friends, what I forgot is that there were illustrations.
That’s right. The friendly woman who had just expressed that she thought I was one of the nicest people she’d ever met in an airport, found herself, quite surprisingly, face-to-bush when I handed her my Kindle.
Luckily, the drawing looked more like a tree than a vag.
I think. (Although my sister and her roommate have since confirmed that it does, in fact, look like a vag.)
I hope she didn’t read anything before I snatched it back from her. (I realize that snatched is a poor choice of words to use here, considering the context, but it’s already there and I can’t, for some reason, bring myself to delete it. Mature, Katie.) But I hope she didn’t read anything because the text really wouldn’t have helped my case.
The only thing that would have helped my case is a clearly visible book title, my friends – a title that proved I was reading a novel by one of the most renowned authors of our time – not a smutty porn book with illustrations that appeared to be drawn by crayon-wielding children, for crying out loud. Children who like to draw vaginas. (Not that there’s anything wrong with smutty porn. Not at all. In fact, smutty porn is a perfectly healthy way to indulge your fantasies, in my humble opinion. It just doesn’t necessarily belong in an airport, you know?)
As I type this, I’m sitting in the window seat on the plane and I have what appears to be a 15 or 16 year old boy sitting next to me, and his mother is sitting next to him. I hope he’s not reading over my shoulder. Damn, why can’t I read or write something appropriate for nosy onlookers?
I want to continue reading Breakfast of Champions, but all of the asshole drawings, which look something like this: * and take up two-thirds of the Kindle screen, might attract my seat mate’s attention even more than this lil’ blog post. But you know, I guess wouldn’t be too embarrassed if he did read what I’m writing, because his mom is reading, What Your Son Isn’t Telling You: Unlocking the World of Teen Boys right in front of him. And that, to me, is more embarrassing than an innocent asshole illustration or two.
And now I realize: I wouldn’t be judging her if she were using a Kindle.