Horror of horrors when I sat down in a sunny window for my lunch break at work today, I pulled from my lunch bag my water bottle, my lunch, and … where’s my Kindle? I had a brief moment of panic, did I drop it somewhere between the library and my sunny lunch nook? Relief as I realized the flitting thought I had when I left the library — goodness my bag seems lighter today — was because I forgot to put my Kindle in my bag. It was on my desk in the library. I could have gone back for it, but when lunch is only 30 minutes and going back for it meant losing time and possibly my sunny nook, I decided to have a bookless lunch.

I was terrified and thrilled at the prospect. I thought I would get a taste of what it might be like to be a non-reader at lunch. I thought, oh, an adventure! I took a bite of my sandwich and didn’t know where to look since I had no book to look at. There were no people to watch. I could stare into space, sure, let’s try that. Didn’t even last until I swallowed that first bite of my sandwich. I took a bite of apple. Ok, I’ll look out the window. Just snow and naked trees and shrubs. I ate a carrot stick, crunching and looking around for something to hold my interest.

My eyes fell on a business school magazine on the table. You have probably seen something similar, heavy glossy paper, full-color photos on every page, only about 20 pages or so, smiling alumni with articles talking about how successful they are because of their MBA. A magazine meant for donors, meant as advertisement. Blech.

But I was desperate. Any port in a storm, right? And so I read about an alumni who opened a free health clinic with his doctor wife out in the suburbs because poverty rates in suburban America are now higher than the rates in cities and rural areas. I learned about another alumni who came here from Ethiopia and has started a bottled water business in Ethiopia that provides jobs and manufactures low cost bottled water that even many poor people can afford, clean water being one of the most difficult things to get in that country. And yet another alumni has created a company that helps mental health practicianers with continuation of care issues between therapy sessions. And it was nice to read stories about entrepreneurs who cared more about helping others than making lots of money.

But you can bet that I won’t forget my Kindle at my desk again.

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