Missing the Point While Missing the Exit

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Friday, July 3, 2020

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. :)