I realised something. Sitting in the departure hall of terminal two in Heathrow two hours early, I read a book -- Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto -- to kill time. Opposite me are a British (I think) couple, probably in their fifties, with eyes peering through their spectacles at the ipads held between their slightly stubby fingers. And here I am, reading a small, thin novella, 150 pages, with a glaringly pink cover. As my own tired eyes (five hours in the bus is no joke) and foggy mind struggled to comprehend the printed words, relaxing and unwinding, a thought, quiet as a passing whisper, struck me like a gong. I've always enjoyed reading physical books where I can touch, flip its pages and smell them, feel its weight in my hands. Electronic devices like tablets have been introducing new features with each new model; the feeling of flipping a page, the sound of flipping the page, all without the hassle of weight and with extra capacity. But, obviously the very experience of reading an actual book in hand has been compromised.
Now, the reason I've gone on talking about this is because, without that base thought, this revelation wouldn't be as profound. Coming back to the the initial point of the post: I realised something as I was reading. Words printed in books, inbued into its parchment, it's black ink against brown or white, there is something permanant about it, as though they were etched in stone (or paper, if you're being literal). Whereas electronic words are ephemeral. One touch of a button and your words disappear, refreshes, changes. The very content you had been reading -- now old news -- is replaced by something new and exciting. I don't think this is an issue in itself, but rather the fragile state of the words, and information and experience it gives the reader. Compared to books, you can't change anything without ruining it, say, with liquid paper or strikes of ink or carbon. It is, as I said, etched forever, until the book disintegrates, lost to the merciless hands of time.
But what is the reason for this post, you must wonder? Ah, my dear reader, there is no reason. No reason at all. Just listless thoughts in the airport.