Saturday, February 2, 2008

Reading People

Tonight was date night for my husband and I. Usually we go to a fast food joint and hit a movie, but tonight was different. I gently persuaded my husband to take me to POWELL's which claims to be the largest bookstore in the world. For a man who dislikes reading email, this was a real stretch and proof of his undying love for me because he hated every minute of it.

On the other hand, I was in heaven! I loved peeking at books I had only heard about. C. S. Lewis talked about George MacDonald's Princess series which I looked at and was surprise he liked them so much. I found an incredible commentary on Shakespeare that is simply brilliant and I got to see a large author's signing, dreaming that someday I would be in the chair of honor with a line around the room waiting for my signature and a few choice words of advice. We left with my head still in the clouds and as we buckled up, my husband Greg let out a shudder and said, "I have never seen so many weird people in my life."

I looked at him oddly, ready to refute what he said and then paused. My mind had been so enthralled in the books that I hadn't really focused on the people in the crowded downtown bookstore late on a Friday night. Recalling them, it suddenly all became clear to me. (Now this is in no way an exhaustive study so if I offend you, take it in stride. It was also late on a Friday night which precluded teens and young mothers) but what I noticed was there were three types of people that were there- no four.

1- The most noticeable group was the Fantasy/SciFi , edging to occult crowd and they were prolific. Although some are just typical teens and Young Adults, many have multiple piercings and tattooes, and color their hair either black or some non-human shade. As a group they are surprisingly amiable and intellegent. I think they are just trying to make the world a little more like the books they read and have a screaming desire not to get lost in the crowd. I like them a lot but I can see why my husband feels out of his element- and I guess that's a good thing.

2- There was also the hoity-toity intellectual types. They usually wear cashmere scarves or shiny leather gloves and are impeccably groomed. At this store I noticed quite a few but they may have come for the booksigning which was in the art section. It was a very high-brow affair from the snippets of conversation I caught about his career in Chicago and his fascinating insights...blah...blah. The only problem with these people is I have an uncontrolable desire to mess up their hair. One day I'm going to blow.

3- There was also a large number of dishevelled, slightly overweight, quick thinking nobodies. These are the voracious readers who live with a true reading addiction that must be fed. Living in their minds is so vivid, it beats any type of reality. I ran into three literally. They are the people who are so focused on what they are doing that they don't notice you until you bump into them and even then, they might not respond. Perhaps all true readers are this way to some degree.

4- Last but not least there were the tag-a-longs. Poor men and women dragged into the store against their will who try their hardest to look interested in something that couldn't care less about. They were peppered throughout the store in sorry numbers either munching at the coffee bar or sitting in the SciFi section reading books on Zombies.

Either way, it was a wonderful night and I came home with a stack of books nearly as tall as I am. It was great until I starting thinking- which type of person am I? There is a definite part of me that is the rebel that doesn't want to get lost in the crowd. I don't have tatoos or piercings but sometimes I'll do or say outlandish things for the shock value.

There is another part of me that I fight against that is the elitest. Sometimes I feel that I am the only defender of the truth and the rest of the world are idiots. I'll sit listening to a conversation with my arms folded, amazed that anyone could even think in such low-flying circles and never see the glory of what was really meant by a piece of literature, a scripture or political commentary. I spent most of BYU in my elitest mode which was a bad thing.

Lastly, the reading nerd- yup, I suppose I'm guilty of that one too. When I get into a good book, the house could be on fire and I would be totally oblivious. I do try to descend to reality on a regular basis but I recently found out that writing is worse than reading for taking us away to a place that only exists in our minds. It's wonderful but a little odd.

I looked at my normal husband and was suddenly grateful for the anchor that he was. Wow, do you think being triple wierd is like a double negative and they cancel each other out? I sure hope so.


Tristi Pinkston said...

I would be one of those disheveled, fat ones. :) Put me in a bookstore and watch out!

And go ahead and mess up someone's hair. I'd love to hear about it. Better, I'd love to be there when you do it. I'll take pictures.

Betty said...
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Johnna said...

I love going to the bookstore on our dates too. Thanks for the fun description.

I'd delete betty's comment if I were you. She's spamming everyone, with a comment that is of course, advertising for