Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Get your paws off my novel, you damned dirty ape."

I visited a local library sale today and I was surprised by how large of a crowd it attracted. It was actually a reassuring feeling to know that people still read. What a concept, right?
However, upon my browsing, I began to take notice of a flaw we all seemed to have:

We lack social skills. Completely.

For example, The tables arranged with books are very long and we all kind of move down the sides of them like fat kids browsing the buffet. However, when you're tired of standing behind the lady in the orange tee-shirt who has been eyeing the same Nora Roberts book for five minutes, reading the synopsis aloud to herself, you really just want to cut on ahead. So, as the polite person I am, I say "excuse me" softly. Her response:

"mmhmm...the life of Roz Harper is that of a widow and mother..."
Maybe she did not hear me. She is quite old and that orange tee is a little loud. I say it a bit stronger. "EXCUSE ME."
"HRM?!"She eyes me. I apologize and attempt to cut out of the line and move forward. She does not budge. She's gripping that novel for dear life. I become fearful and back down. I will wait until she has decided whether she wants to splurge the 50 cents on that book.
That was the biggest problem, really. the "Excuse Me's" and the grunts I received thereafter. Nobody spoke. You would attempt to walk by, they'd eye you, grunt loudly, and shift awkwardly to the side. The only other sound was the quiet murmur of reading aloud and nothing else. Oh, sure there were children screaming and begging to go home, but children don't count. They're not real people.
The only full statement I heard the entire time was (and I don't lie to my readers):

"Oh this is's an encyclopedia of cheese!"

So, let me get this straight. The avid readers, who probably have extensive vocabularies, wonderful insights, and deep cognitive thoughts grunt at one another. The person reading an article about Swiss cheese is bright and talking joyfully amongst her friends. Where did we go wrong?
Maybe I should give up. Maybe I should just put the Doctorow book down and go watch The Happening.

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