Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Yay! A Line!

 No, that title is not sarcasm, but it was one of several I considered. "How I Meet My Reading Goals" and "What I'm Looking Forward to in Less Than a Week" were also contenders.

The original title? "Eat, Drink and Read a Book."

I first "discovered" the joys of a line at the Starbucks drive-through two years ago. And, while I no longer document my reading streaks (choosing now to write in my book journal once I complete a book), I still love it when the wait at the drive-through gives me a chance to listen to an audiobook, read something (preferably besides e-mail, but that's how it goes some days) or, if the line extends past the door of the store, squeeze in a quick Duolingo lesson.

There are all sorts of things I'm looking forward to doing after I exit the grading tunnel that promises to hold me captive for at least one more day, and reading is at the top of the list (along with writing).

Meanwhile, I'll sneak in a few pages of content whenever I can.

One day last week, I pulled into the Starbucks drive-through, where was a line, which is not unusual. I smiled, pleased to see that there were several cars ahead of me.

I was prepared.

Last spring, I resolved to get serious about my vague promise to myself to read more. I designated one of my small notebooks as my reading log and started writing down what I read every day. I amped up my audiobook list, making sure to listen to a book several times a week during my brief commute.

That's when I started appreciating the line at the drive-through, instead of dreading it. The more cars there were in front of me, the more I could extend my listening time before I got home and felt obligated to tackle my to-do list. And, on days when I wasn't working, I no longer tried to avoid the busy times at the drive-through. I just grabbed a book or my Kindle and took it with me. It has actually gotten to the point where I'm disappointed if there isn't a line at the drive-through.

I'd love to say that the impact on my to-be-read pile has been substantial but, if you read my post last week, you already know that's clearly not the case. These days, I'm more interested in measuring my reading streak -- the number of days I can rack up where I read for pleasure. I was doing very well until the semester started. Now, I'm trying to use my drive-through reading to get myself back on track.

There are a number of reasons why I find it so challenging to do this thing I love to do, but the biggest ones are reading for work, writing vs. reading and the pull of electronic entertainment, especially when my family is choosing that last one. I can justify plopping down in the family room with my iPad or my laptop if I'm joining a viewing party already in progress (which is why the television is rarely on during the day when I am home alone).

Two weeks into a new semester, I have a good idea of what I want my new routine to look like, though I still have a ways to go to make that plan a reality. But taking my book, no matter the format, with me when I expect to wait primes the pump, and gets me excited to finish a section or a chapter, even if that means delaying the to-do list a little bit longer. 

Slowly, but surely, that to-be-read pile is going to shrink. 

Unless, of course, I buy more books.

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