Sunday, June 17, 2012

Buy your own Newspaper Dam It!

Newspaper reading is quite an art while riding public transit.  It is important to keep in mind fellow transit riding customers while trying to navigate your way through a braodsheet newspaper.  Tabloid style newspapers like the Toronto Sun and Metro have the advantage as they do not take up as much space or require the acrobatics to turn the pages that a broadsheet, like the Globe & Mail, requires.

Normally I am very cognizant of how full the bus is compared to how much of a sectioned broadsheet paper I have out.  If the bus is really full, I have one section out folded in half laying on my lap with a long story to pass the time.  Other times when the bus is less full I can get away with leaving the sections on top of my bag on my lap while I read one section.  I find this is common courtesy for other riders on the bus

This past week I happened to be reading the Toronto Star on two occasions while enjoying my commute home after a good day at work.  The bus was not that busy so I had my bag on my lap with the newspaper sections I was not reading at the time neatly folded while I browsed a section.  Both times the bus was not that  total stranger sitting next to me leaned over and inquired if they could read a section.

Both times I felt deeply disgusted that someone would have the audacity to inquire about reading a newspaper which you pay for.  It is like asking to borrow your shoe so they could wear it.  You dutifully paid for said shoe, but now someone, who you have never seen before, is asking to borrow it to wear.   It was also not like I had been to the local Metro or 24 Hrs box and pulled out a free copy myself and quite possibly had finished reading it.  No, I had picked up the Toronto Star with a purchase of a coffee from the local McDonald's and picked up the paper.  Sure I received it for free from McDonald's with the coffee purchase, but all these other bus riders should have assumed was I dutifully paid $1 or $2 of my money from the local box or store.  Bottom line, they should have assumed the paper was my property and should have laid off.  

In the end, I felt awkward.  how in prey tell do I respond? Do I flip a section over? Or do I come up with some lame excuse?

 The first time I chose the latter, I said I was getting off the bus in two stops and would be taking the paper with me (i.e. make it seem like they would have zero chance of finishing an article before I left with my newspaper).  But as it turned out I was actually get off the bus in four stops, just enough time for the average person to finish a section.

 The second time I actually had the perfect excuse.  I was asked if they could read the Business section.  I replied it was the next section I was going to read.  I then read every article in that section possible.  The only downfall was it had the Classified section included, which cut down the numbers of pages I could read.  In the end I put the entire newspaper in my bag and looked away awkwardly. 

In future, I will refrain from putting the newspaper sections I'm not rading on my lap.  I will politely leave them in my bag.  As the old saying goes, "out of sight out of mind" will hopefully resolve awkward social situations where some stranger asks you to borrow something. 

I just hope shoe borrowing isn't the next pet peeve of mine.  My size 13s are hard to fit in my bag. 

To those of you looking to read the newspaper....BUY YOUR OWN DAM NEWSPAPER!


  1. Michael, why don't you make yourself a money tin and hang on your neck saying - 'if you want to read my newspaper it will cost you!'. You made me laugh reading the business section, but I can see how it can be awkward on your part coming out with those excuses. I find that some people will take advantage of any opportunity to get something out of others ... thanks for sharing. BTW thank you for your comment about strep throat. We both never had it, and never realized that it could be very painful. Matthew is much better today. Anna :)

  2. Not sharing a newspaper on a long hot commute when someone asks nicely? That is a bit petty. And your shoe analogy makes no sense. Do you not borrow library books?

    Try a random act of kindness next time and see what happens. Pay it forward.


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