Is reading in public anti-social behavior?

I’m just wondering because I do it all of the time and I’ve been aware lately that some people might think of me as anti-social.  Like last night, I’m at my son’s soccer practice and as soon as I get there and get my kids organized, I commence to sticking my head in a book.  This is what I do every-time.  Now, I’m not a bad mom, I keep an eye on the kids, but socialize I do not.  I’m friendly, I say hello and smile, but that’s usually the extent.  Is this rude??  I’m just wondering because last night I could SWEAR that one of the other moms looked at me, her eyes intentionally scanned down at my book and then she FROWNED.  I mean seriously, I definitely felt the disapproval vibes that occur when moms start to judge each other.  What does she want from me?  Should I be sitting in the sand with my three old while he plays dump truck with another kid.  He’s fiercely independent, I’m sure he would find that intrusive, I mean I’m surprised he’s not driving already.  Should I have my eyes glued to my other son who is practicing, watching his every move?  I glance up, I know whats going on, I can multi-task.  Or maybe, she’s just getting all pissy because I’d rather read than engage in any contrite conversation with her.  Snarl.

What about you?  Has there ever been a time when you’ve felt like you were being rude or offensive when reading around others?  Tell me about it, I wanna know.


14 Responses to “Is reading in public anti-social behavior?”

  1. Jeannine Says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about. My 10 year old takes Taekwando three nights a week. All of the parents sit behind the glass window to watch and wait. I am the only one with my nose in a book. (this is one of the few chances I get to realx for an hour and catch up on my reading). I glance up and look now and then to see what he is doign but thats about it. I smile and say hi to the other parents as I walk in but other than that, I much rather read. I get looks and stares. I personally do not think this is being anti-social and it does not make me a bad mom. If I were at a tournament or something that he was competing in, I would give it my undivided attention. This is jsut practice.
    I guess not everyone shares our love of reading.

  2. Jeanine – Glad to hear its not just me. I don’t read during my childs game either. Although, I may bring a book just in case there is a delay or something…..;)

  3. I’m sure my whole office thinks I’m anti-social as I go to the cafeteria with a book in hand instead of sitting with coworkers. It’s just that all they want to talk about is work! gah. I strive for a little balanace there but more often than not, I choose the book instead of the work socializing 🙂

  4. I had a friend who read during the sermon at church. On the front row. That might be construed as a little… tactless. There are times when I would rather read than socialize and I can respect that in others, but I guess not everyone is wired that way. That mom that frowned at you? She’s probably just jealous that she didn’t think to bring a book the first practice, and now she’s stuck fraternizing with the other mom’s instead of catching up on her reading, too.

  5. My vote is for the later of your possible options. For some reason, I find that a lot of people who don’t read get really annoyed by those of us who do, or rather, just can’t fathom why anyone would rather read than do another activity (like socialize) and that irks them. Personally, I’m not one for idle chitchat and talking with people just for the sake of talking, so I’m with you on this.

    One thing I loved about working in a library was that everyone in the breakroom usually had a book, so unless I wanted to talk with someone, I didn’t!

  6. Michelle Says:

    I think it has to be based on your personal judgment. There are some places and events where it is so obviously inappropriate (like the chruch sermon!). I worked with a man who read at office socials, retreats, when he had company to his home, etc. That to me is a bit rude. But practice – I think not. I could never do it because my youngest needs undivided attention still, but I look forward to the day!

  7. Thanks for all your comments guys. I needed validation.

  8. I’m glad that you got the answers you did, because I have sometimes wondered the exact same thing!

  9. If I had children, I’d probably annoy you for a quick minute to check out what you are reading, settle in near you and stick my nose in my book. 🙂 Like others have said, I am not good at making small talk just for the sake of it–although I’m friendly enough so as not to appear rude. I don’t think there is anything wrong with your reading during practice,

  10. All I can say is, I’m glad to know you’re out there. Lately I’ve been afraid of the idea of having kids because I can’t fathom hanging out and chatting with the other parents about our childrens’ every move (which seems to be what the parents at our library do). If only I could find other people out there in public reading books! I’d give you a big smile and then stick my nose back in my book where it belongs, so we could read alone together.

  11. Well, if this is the case, then I’m certainly anti-social. I don’t go anywhere without a book, unless it’s a date–which is rare for me. Then again, if I do go on a date, I ask if she’d like to stop off at a bookstore before dinner and grab a coffee. Bookstores are relaxing and books themselves make good conversation pieces. This kind of reminds me of my last date. We’d gone to a bookstore before dinner and, as we were browsing, I came across a book entitled “The Girl I Want to Be” (or something to that effect). So I picked up the book and started flipping through it. I said, “Hmm. Interesting. I should get this.” “What’s that?” And I showed her the cover and she burst out laughing. We drew some glares, but no matter.

    Alas, it didn’t work out. I’m not an outgoing person, and after rejecting her two or three times in favor of catching up on my reading, she stopped calling. It took me a while to realize she wasn’t calling, but by then, I’d already moved on to my annual reading of “Pride and Prejudice.”

  12. Nonanon – While its fun to talk about my kids, I do want to maintain some sort of my own identity. I think you can do that and still be a good parent. It’s nice to know there are unknown allies like you lurking around out there.

    Brandon -I don’t go anywhere without a book either… never know what could happen and you woudn’t want to get stuck somewhere without a book..(The horror!). I think you need to find a gal whose your reading equivalent (trust me, she’s out-there). That way you could do what nonanon said and “read alone together”. My husbands not a reader and it can sometimes be a drag…

  13. Reading keeps me on an even keel. These people I see out in public — are they going to care if I’m on or off my even keel? Hell, no. The book stays.

  14. Thank you

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