What is it with me and bookstores? What is it about these places, above all others, which presents me with so many interesting people? What cosmic force finds its intersection in the place of literature.
You heard it from me before. I have met some of the most interesting people in my life at the bookstore. There was my friend Joyce, who loved to hug trees and said I had a voice that reminded her of her best childhood friend. We met while shopping for books for our literature course at university. We remained friends for many years.
There was a woman named Maude, who lived on Awaji Island in Japan. We met at Kinokuniya in Osaka in the section where they kept the English books. While not so unusual to meet an English speaker there, it did strike me as profound in its own way. I never saw her again.
I met a jazz musician named Eddy at a bookstore in Tokyo, though in all fairness I had been talking to a French woman about Japanese study books. He “interrupted” that event. It turned out that he was a reviewer I had followed on Amazon. Thanks largely to social media, I still get updates about his life and his gigs and how heavy his Hammond Organ is when travelling to those aforementioned gigs.
Flash forward to today. Today, while searching for a magazine that is supposed to be giving away Raspberry Pi 2 boards, I came across two interesting people. The first was the store clerk I asked to help me in my search, which it should be said ended in vain. He turned out to be a wealth of knowledge on all things Linux. While I am not ready to go that route, it was still fascinating. He had passion for something I only understand in a very peripheral way.
The other person was also a clerk in the bookstore. She was talking to the previous clerk about books that she was scavenging off the discount pile. They were talking about Michael Connelly’s creation Hieronymus Bosch. Since I was in the middle of a book by the author, have thoroughly enjoyed the character, and was somewhat beauty-struck by the young woman, I decided to interject myself in the conversation. What I got was a young woman who spoke passionately about books as if she devoured them like food. Her questions were intelligent and precise, leaving me a bit tongue-tied. I wish I had had more time to formulate my answer because as I replay it in my mind, I certainly displayed very little of my education in literature.
I left the store wondering about the experience. What is it that I find so interesting about people in bookstores? Usually, I am not particularly talkative. I am somewhat introverted, but in a bookstore things change. People are there getting books, so that means we already have something in common, though these days, I mostly borrow my books from the library. Many of these same people are readers, and often have a lot to say about the experience. They speak so compelling about books and authors that it is a pleasure to talk to them. I guess it takes me back to my university days.
Yeah…..I guess we can call that today’s perfect moment.