It dawned on me as I was listening to a book-on-disc reading of “The Bourne Identity” in my car the other day that the world’s worst excuse for speeding might be telling the policeman that “I’m just like Jason Bourne, I can’t exactly remember why I did it. ...”
A book that is so action-packed as “The Bourne Identity” is a bad book to be listening to while driving a car. It takes a lot of concentration to keep the plot straight. If the main character doesn’t know what’s going on, how is a listener supposed to follow it if he takes his mind off of listening to it long enough to realize, “Oh, wait, it’s Saturday and I’m driving to work instead of the golf course”?
Just in those few seconds of recalculating your destination, Bourne is probably being shot at by somebody entirely different than the person who was attacking him when you weren’t thinking of your driving.
OK, back up the book. I’m going to have to listen — and I mean really listen — to that track over again and maybe miss a turn or forget to get gas.
Oh, I suppose you could effectively listen to “The Bourne Identity” if you were driving for great distances on vacation in parts of the country, where there’s little to look at and few reasons to even pay attention to driving, other than giving yourself a reminder now and then to “keep it on the asphalt part.”
I suspect Kansas and Iowa might be good states to have Jason Bourne as your travel companion. Just set the cruise control and the two of you will be in Des Moines before anybody in the book even knows where he is.
Listen to “The Bourne Identity” in city traffic, though, and you’ll quickly have more government agents and angry motorists after you than Bourne does.
How do you make apologetic hand gestures to another driver that could possibly explain, “Sorry! Didn’t mean to cut you off. This is just a pretty critical chapter. I think he recalled something right after he got shot. ...”
I wouldn’t be so concerned about all of this except I did a little disc count before I left home today and discovered “The Bourne Identity” is a pretty big book. I think I’ve still got about a dozen discs left to listen to.
And after I’m done with the first book, I’ve still got the “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” to listen to while I’m driving. Those also have got to be pretty bulky books-on-disc to be borrowing from the library.
It’s going to mean I’ll be spending a lot of time out there on the road, just barely remembering to stop at red signs and lights, especially if I have to divert my attention to make a cellphone call from my car to the library’s audio visual department to request a renewal.
Still, I don’t really have many other options. Jason and I have become close. I can’t just leave him hanging.
I wonder how much it would distract me if I put a laptop on the passenger seat and watched the trilogy of Bourne movies on the way to work, or golf or wherever it is I’m going.
Contact Gary Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.