Sunday, November 24, 2013

The stranger with the newspaper


Last Friday, while I was killing time in a doughnut shop having coffee and finally reading my first Doris Lessing, there was a stranger.

The stranger looked innocuous enough. All I noticed was that he was Caucasian, probably in his 50s, and reading The New York Times. I was seated next to him. After my initial glance, I hardly ever looked at him and delved straight into my newly purchased novel, Doris Lessing's The Fifth Child.

Now that novel. Pretty good. Short, very dark, great atmosphere of dread and menace. If half of her novels were as good as The Fifth Child, then I am sold. When a much lauded author dies whom I've never read, I feel that it becomes an "obligation" to rush immediately to the bookstore and get a copy of his or her book. Death really is a strong motivation.

Anyway, after an hour, the stranger got up to leave. Then I noticed him coming to my table. He said, "I noticed that you're reading Doris Lessing. I just want to give you this article. It's from today's paper."

What can one say in situations like this but "Thank you." Somehow adding "You shouldn't have" seems to go overboard. But yes, the stranger shouldn't have. He shouldn't have torn his paper for an article he wants to hand over to a total stranger. He shouldn't, but he did. I'm glad that he did. And that's why he made my day. Well, he and Doris Lessing. Her novel kicks ass.


14 comments:

Jack said...

Quickly, then, kismet or serendipity?

Peter S. said...

Hmmmmm. . . Both? LOL.

angus25 said...

Really, I wouldn't mind if strangers talk to me about the book that I'm reading in public. I mean, if I don't want to be bothered, then I should read at home, no?

Unfortunately, no one has ever approached me yet to talk about what I'm reading. I tried turning the table around, but all I got was a vicious glare. So yeah, I never did it again.

Peter S. said...

I never attempted to strike a conversation with people who are reading. I always think they just want to be left alone.

James Chester said...

I like to think that I would have done the same back when I was still buying newspapers.

Peter S. said...

Me too! Now, everything's virtual.

ram said...

i got a different cover of the fifth child...

Peter S. said...

Ooooohhhh! You must have those vintage covers! Love!

Kaz said...

Nice one!! I like that stuff - I have had things like that happen to me occasionally when reading in public. Doesn't bother me particularly.

Peter S. said...

Hello, Kaz! You're so lucky! I think this (i.e., complete strangers coming up to me regarding something book-ish) happened to me only a few times.

Louize Gonzales said...

Hi, Peter! The only time I was interrupted reading in public was in an airport, never in a coffee shop. But this one is so thoughtful. The world need more guys just like that one. :)

Peter S. said...

Hi, Louize! Indeed we do!

Ira Sabile said...

Wow! Do you still have the article? I think it's worth keeping :)

Peter S. said...

Hi, Ira! Yes, I still have it!