Missing the Point While Missing the Exit

A couple of Sundays ago the New York Times Book Review devoted their front page to Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt. This scholarly and intriguing work of nonfiction explores the history of traffic patterns and driver culture, particularly in America. It was a glowing review of a book that deserves to be read by anyone holding a drivers’ license.

The kudo-filled review compelled Paul Sheridan of Northport, Maine to hop on the internet and point his browser to his local library’s web site to place a hold. In addition to the print format, he was “dismayed to see that it was also available on 11 CDs.” Mr. Sheridan can see the benefits to ripping the CDs to an iPod or other portable listening device for gym or mass transit commuter use. But he is bemused by “the irony in the listener’s absorbing Vanderbilt’s concepts while driving, and changing the disc every 74 minutes.” (Italics, like opinions, are all mine. No one else is having any).

First, I can’t imagine the poor sod who has a commute to work that lasts more than an hour and fifteen minutes, from front door to office cube. Second, I should think that listening to a book while driving is infinitely safer than reading a book while driving. Mr. Sheridan, check your rear view mirror. If you can’t see the title, then it’s safe to merge. :)


I actually READ that book, did you?

To the commentator:

I actually READ Tom Vanderbilt's book, TRAFFIC.

A major point in the book was the extensive research on distracted driving--whether changing CD's (and yes, there are people with commutes of at least 2.5 hours, one way!--not me, fortunately), or fiddling with radio dials, or talking on the cell phone, all can be the proximate cause of crashes.

So there was the irony--a dense, fact-filled book that MIGHT be listened to by someone driving. Lighten up and laugh a bit...

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