Books are fantastic. Not only do they let you travel to interesting words, they also allow you to meet people you might not. I am not good at meeting women in bars, regardless of the amount of liquid courage coursing through my veins, but I have managed to meet plenty of people over books at bookstores, libraries, and on subway cars.
Today, I noticed a young woman glancing at my book. I could tell that she was wondering what I was reading, but probably wasn’t going to ask. I could have held the book up high and pointed the cover in her direction, but I wasn’t especially proud of the book I was reading. It is rather light fare that is either brilliant for its lack of chronology and artful violence or a rather hacked piece of work. I am as yet undecided, but am leaning towards hack.
Instead, I just looked at her and told her that it wasn’t a particularly good book. This sparked an interesting conversation about books, bicycle helmets, crime statistical research (her field) ESL teaching (mine) and several other things.
Normally the ride on the subway is long and tedious, but I looked up and it was almost over. This was something we both noted, myself with some bittersweetness, her with some surprise (though I hope there was some bittersweet in there too). It was probably the best flowing conversation I have had with a stranger in quite a while. There were no awkward pauses, no fumbling for topics….of course, I also have to recognize that I teach ESL students and most of my conversations with them contain some struggles.
Thanks again books, you have provided me with Today’s Perfect Moment.