I always bring a book to restaurants, especially when I'm eating alone; because I hate the restlessness of just sitting around staring into space while waiting for the food to arrive.
However, when the food DOES arrive, I'm also reluctant to put down the book and concentrate on eating. So, I've perfected my own technique for reading books while eating.
Depending on what you're eating you can either eat while holding the book with one hand, or place the book on the table and read it while using both hands to eat. If eating noodles and using chopsticks, then it's easy. Chopsticks are great read-eating cutlery, because you can use only one hand and the other hand is free to hold the book.
However, if you have to use a pair of cutlery, ie. a fork and a spoon or a knife, then it gets trickier.
If your book is relatively thin, then you can tuck one end of the book under one of your plates, and use your handphone as a paperweight to make the book stay open. That way, you don't need to hold the book, and only need to free your hand to turn the pages (or to move the handphone aside when it blocks the passage you are reading)
But if the book is relatively thick and unwieldy (once again, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel comes to mind), then my advice its to put it on your lap, still using your handphone as a paperweight, and read it with your head bowed.
You'll look funny though, cos' people will be wondering why you keep checking out your crotch.
Of course, when you are reading a newspaper or a magazine, then you shouldn't have a problem. Just put it beside or in front of your dishes and read on. Well, unless the table is too small or the newspaper is a broadsheet type that just gets in the way of everything (in which case, switch to a tabloid type paper lar. Hehe), that is.
Some important rules to remember when eat-reading:
- It's rude to read if there is someone else at the table.
- When using handphone as paperwight, make sure it doesn't get swiped off the table.
- One can't be too paranoid about stains. A few curry stains here and there are ok, but don't drench the whole book in dahl lar.
- That said, one sure also make sure that you DON'T READ if you're eating with your hands!
- Also, make sure table is clean before you put the book on the table. Don't want your RM89.90 first edition hardcover to get an oily book cover, do you?
- If reading a funny book, make sure you don't spray the person seated at the table in front of you with food when you laugh out loud.
There you have it, the one and only Eyeris Eat-Reading Technique. And as usual, the Eyeris Disclaimer:
- The above technique has been perfected after years of practise (and countless curry stained books), and should not be tried by anyone without professional supervision.
- Eat-Read at your own risk. Eyeris is not responsible for any curry stains or dahl-drenched books that you suffer while trying out this technique.