Saturday, April 16, 2011

in defense of stowing a kindle in one's pocket during an excursion in the jungle, or andrew reveals his insatiable need to respond seriously to facebook comments made in jest

i broke another kindle. my third. this time i was hanging from a jungle vine, and the kindle, which was in the pocket of my brown cargo shorts, must have been crunched between my thigh and the wooden railing beside me.

i posted something to this effect on facebook, lamenting my sudden lack of books for the remainder of my trip--one week in new zealand and more than a day's worth of airline time and sitting in airports, ack! what am i to do? my friends were, understandably, incredulous--how did i manage to so easily destroy yet another kindle? why was I bringing my kindle into the rainforest in the first place? why use a kindle at all? 

and as usual, i couldn’t help but overreact:

before arriving in the rain forest, that lively universe that was the site of my latest kindle’s demise, i first had to take several other types of transportation. i knew from other similar excursions around cairns, that these legs of the journey could involve a lot of staring into space, which i'd rather fill with something more entertaining and constructive, like reading.

as it turned out, i spent much of the travel time playing "i spy with my little eye" with some aussies from melbourne and a man from jamaica. but upon arrival in kurunda, i did relax for awhile in a shady park, reading on my kindle and--pay attention here, you e-reader cynics, this is one place where the kindle, if it didn't have a pansy screen, beats out a pocket-size paperback--finding illusory literary community with friends back home: that is, using the kindle's wireless function, i was able to share some passages from a short story collection I'd been reading with my bazillion closest friends on facebook.

now, no one commented on those quotes or my reflections on those quotes (just as I don't tend to comment on other people's quotes), so perhaps whatever community i felt by posting them was false, and perhaps whatever community is achieved through an online social networking site like facebook, even if it is with real people who you know and love, is already false, but this felt like some step toward not being stranded in my own head, a thousand-plus miles from friends and people who like to talk about books.

i should end there. that sounds about as close to profound as i can get when unnecessarily blathering on about a stupid broken device. that's the true ending. but i also want to mention these two logistical points: (1) the sharing of those quotes on facebook was free, whereas to share them with my iphone, which wasn't on me at the time, would have entailed an international phone service charge; and (2) i'm pretty certain that any other electronic device that i own--my iphone, my (work's) macbook air, my nikon camera--would have survived the bump just fine; these kindles have excellent customer service but their screens are less durable than the spindly stick of a candy cane after it’s been sucked down to a needle-sharp tip, which is to say that, apparently, you can’t take them anywhere.

and i have no idea what candy canes have to do with kindles or rainforests.