"Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??
"And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember…"
I've been in similar situations at airports, train stations and bus depots. On one occasion I was distraught over a recent event, so I grabbed the fattest novel at the newsstand. Luckily it was a good one. I tore the book from its carrier bag and began to read as I walked the moment I left the newsstand. I read madly throughout the whole leg of that journey, from the airline gateway, on the plane, at the baggage claim, everywhere.
The book's title was a line from a song. That was at least ten years ago, but I always think of the novel, the trip and the distressing situation whenever I hear that song.