GorT neatly expands on our own essay on reading. Indeed, the Czar wished he had the space to explain in his own essay what GorT so perfectly expounded in his. What GorT wrote is exactly what the Czar meant when we said:
Kids tend to blow through reading rather than develop comprehension: they ask no questions about plot, character motivation, author’s technique, stylistic differences, etc., and effectively go zombie-like through reading like a video game.
“Stylistic differences” is pretty vague, but it is exactly what GorT explained: you read differently based on the intent of the author. You read fiction one way (actually several ways depending on genre), but technical reading another, and non-fiction yet another. Kids do not know this, and you have to help them understand it.
The Mandarin and the Czar were indeed enjoying a conversation about reading manuals recently. The Czar loves manuals, and does his utmost to read them before assembling and using a product. In fact, it is quite amazing what you can find in them of value!
But while the Czar reads through all the information and instructions, his brain works quite like anyone else’s. Nothing like panic to undermine your best efforts, as GorT mentions about frustration.
Case in point: the Czar has a luxurious water heater that is fairly new. Recently, the Czar was attracted to the dacha basement when he heard a curious noise. Water was spraying out of the pressure release valve at the top of the water heater, sending a scalding cloud of steam onto the immediate area.
The Czar knew a few things off the bat: he knew that this means the contents were boiling, that pressure was building up, and that the valve should be releasing water down a PVC tube toward a drain. It was not, so this was serious. Mm-hmm. The Czar also knew that hot water is expensive in Muscovy, and that he needed to stop it.
A few feet away lay the manual for the heater, and the Czar recalled there was a whole thing in there, with line art, explaining the pressure relief valve. Certainly, the manual would remind the Czar what to do in such an emergency, in simple step-by-step directions.
So the Czar opened the book. “Congratulations on your purchase of the Westmoreland 75-gallon e-Heater, which is designed to provide many years of…“Ah jeez, why put this in?” flip flip flip Félicitations! Vous avez acheté le Westmoreland 284-l e-Chauffe, et cela vous donnera de nombreuses années de service! “Hell, went too far!” flip flip flip Zorionak! Westmoreland 284-l e-Berogailu bat erosi duzu. “Basque? They sell a lot of these to Basque nationals? For God’s sake. Really?” flip flip flip Pressure Release Valve Information. Your Westmoreland 75-gallon heater is equipped with an emergency release valve, in the event that internal pressures develop past the recommended safety threshold developed by a variety of standards bodies including the ASTM… “Yeah, no kidding. Now how does one get it to stop spraying like a f@#&ing Dutch fountain?” flip flip flip If your emergency pressure release valve begins to vent, discharge, or spray water… “At last! Here it is…” the valve is not intended to be lifted except under the general installation setting of an empty tank… something… re-reading…except under an emergency condition…uh… unless it is to be reset… but do this only when the gas is off and the entire tank has been thoroughly drained of water…CRAP! None of this makes sense!
Fortunately, in large black letters on a yellow sticker was the following: MUSCOVY PLUMBING 24 HOUR HOTLINE: 426-833-1928. Phone. Dialed. Rings. Hello?
The plumber answered, said turn on the bathtub. Fastest way to relieve the pressure. Let it run for 10 minutes. When spraying stops, turn off tub. Will be by in couple of days.
The Czar did that, the spraying stopped, and the plumber swung by a couple days later and declared the valve was defective and under an imaginary warranty. No charge to repair or replace, and he was gone in ten minutes.
So much for reading comprehension in a panic. But if you are curious, the Haitian word for heater is chofaj. So it isn’t like the Czar learned nothing from all this.