Book vs. Phone

The man sat on the sun lounger by the side of the pool is reading a book. His female companion, in the adjacent sun lounger, is looking at her smartphone. I am in the pool.

I hear raised voices and turn towards them. The man is gesturing vigourously at his book, to the point where he’s repeatedly stabbing the pages with his finger as if to physically ram home his point. He speaks in a language I do not recognise. He becomes agitated and shoves the book towards the woman’s face, then waves dismissively at her phone. She replies in a soft, hurt voice, but he’s not listening and continues to rant for several minutes. He seems to be saying something along the lines of “Why are you playing with your stupid phone when you should be reading a good book like I am?”.



“You never leave the house?”

“No, not for years. At a certain point I made precise calculations: if I leave the house to seek the company of an intelligent person, an honest person, I am confronted with, on average, the risk of meeting twelve thieves and seven imbeciles who are there, ready to inflict on me their opinions on humanity, the government, the municipal administration, Moravia…do you think it’s worth the bother?”

“I guess not, no”

Leonardo Sciascia, A ciascuno il suo (my translation)