Admittedly, not much of a reader here. A few enjoyable books sprinkle my past. “Tristan and Iseult” lovingly spread itself across a high school desk many years ago, some motivational books during a decade of selling to the masses, and Genesis to Revelation once. There were a few more opened along the lawn beside my educational path, probably. Had to be, for sure, but I don’t remember 99% of them. Math and music were my loves. Books with words? Not so much.
I’m fascinated by folks who read. As I sit behind a lunchtime warm bowl of ham pot pie soup, there are some folks across this coffee shop at their own table. Reading. Laptops, tablets, and – for hardcore traditionalists – paperbacks. One hand holds a mug of their warm brew of choice, another patiently taps or turns a mysterious, romantic, or comedic story into the next minute future of their lives.
There are non-readers here, too. Conversationalists living in the moment, they are. It’s a normal, sunny November day outside. I can’t imagine talk-across words include how cold, or warm, the outside temperature is, or what the rest of the week has in store. The food here is always as good as the service, so nothing new to talk about there. Without an abrupt walk-up and accompanying, irritating “Hey, watcha talkin’ about?”, I can’t know … and this is o.k.. Everyone is smiling. That’s good enough.
They don’t need a book at this moment. Others do. Those “others” fascinate me more when I see them mixed in with tables in cafés where conversations are happening. I find the gift of reading fascinating because I don’t have it. How can one concentrate on a story in the middle of a café when others are chatting away over tea? As an aside, how do readers not fall asleep in one of those plush, large chairs inside Barnes & Noble? I get woozy just wandering around inside there looking for the bathroom.
Readers are, simply, a breed apart.
Those who read inside cafés seem to be extra special. I’m drawn to their apparent higher level. Higher level of “what” I will leave up to your imagination. As others talk over bowls of soup, chicken taco salads, and aloha turkey & mango salsa wraps, textually-engaged individuals quietly enjoy their novels. With mugs of tea and coffee enhancing the aroma of each story, time moves forward in their lives through words only they can see.
I look at them with awe. My fascinations lie elsewhere – in notes on a staff and numbers stacked as equations. Placing words on a page are, as well, highly enjoyable, too. However, reading, as an activity in my life, can be tolerated in short, abbreviated segments.
For the “now”, my soup appears to not have survived this writing episode as it was super-good as always. My extra hand didn’t need the mug of tea – a soup spoon was sufficient. With a few breaks to chat with a friend or two and five minutes for a delicious chocolate-chip cookie, the hour quickly passed.
This café is almost empty now. Readers are back to their day-to-day. Whatever imaginary world in which they found themselves, it is at rest until those great grammarian gates open again.
Tomorrow may be that time.
I am glad you are readers. Without your eyes, I have no audience. I am so fortunate to be that non-reader who enjoys sitting in a café while silent words rise from laptops, novels, and tablets of others.
If we’re ever lunching within proximity of each other and you see me hovering over a delicious bowl of soup, stop over. I’d love to discuss my dalliances with daily fascinations. Chief among them, your love of books … If, indeed, you are one of those.
I would be glad to buy that hot mug of tea by your side.