Not everywhere, of course. I would prefer that commuters don't try to finish that Stephen King novel on the way to work while they are driving their cars. I've seen that. Tooling down the road at speed, book propped on the steering wheel, glancing up now and then. Scary.
I noticed whilst walking the dogs today, as I perchanced to pass the neighborhood association's clubhouse and swimming pool(s), a lovely young teenaged girl in her bikini quite engrossed in the book she was reading. Which would have been delightful ... had she not been the lifeguard hired to watch over the kiddies in the pool.
Speaking as a former employee of the Ethyl Recreation Association, whereat I spent three summers, twixt the ages of sixteen to nineteen as a lifeguard and swimming teacher, the notion that I or any of the other guards would sit in the chair reading a book while on duty is shake-one's-head stunning.
Now granted, there were some extenuating circumstances: The pool is one of two, designed for kiddies -- the lap pool is around back -- and the kiddie pool is only five feet deep at one end and shallow enough for small fry to wade in the rest of it. There were only a handful of children, fewer than a dozen, most of whom were tall enough to bob up onto their toes in the deep end, and most of whom had an adult with them, mostly, it looked like, mothers or aunts or grandmas.
Still and all, having fetched panicked children who went down in water only to their chins who couldn't find the bottom to push off and come back up, I know just how fast that can happen. It only takes a heartbeat, and like a Secret Service agent, you have to watch all the time. If you are wrapped up in the throes of the sweet young thing trying to seduce her vampire boyfriend who is being noble and resisting, you could easily miss one of the sunfish suddenly turning into a bottom-feeding catfish.
I don't use the pool -- when I was swimming daily, I wanted a lane where I could do flip-turns and churn laps for forty-five minutes with nobody in my way, so I went to the country rec's Olympic-sized pool. Our neighborhood lap pool is all of about five strokes long.
And the guard might read all day every day while the place is open and never have any of the shrimp get into trouble. But still. It only takes the one to ruin your whole summer.