Main | Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Book Woman

Manhattan, the 6 train, 730pm

I'm standing in the doorway, where you're not supposed to stand, but the train isn't too crowded at this hour, so I'm really not in anybody's way. The woman seated to my right takes a book out of her shoulder-bag and flips to her bookmark, near the end. The woman seated across from her gets a wide-eyed expression and leans forward with excitement. After about three minutes, she cannot contain herself.

"Hey! Are you enjoying that book? What do you think of it?"

Book Woman lowers her book and frowns. For a moment, I think that she's annoyed at the interruption, but then I decide that she's having a hard time giving a proper answer to the other woman's question. The other woman realizes that too, and perhaps to stave off an embarrassing answer, she blurts out, "My son wrote it!"

"Oh...really?" Book Woman says dryly, and turns the book over to look at the author's photo, then looks back at the woman across the aisle with a comparative eye. "Well, your son certainly has....interesting ideas about the world."

The author's mother beams and says, "Yes, he's always been full of ideas!"

Book Woman replies, "I'd say he's just full of IT."


Book Woman stands up. "I said I'm just about done with it. This is my stop. Good-bye."

Of course, I'm dying to know the name of the book. As Book Woman passes me, I move out of her way and crane my neck to get one final look as she tucks it under her arm. In doing so, I manage to smack my face sharply into the center pole. I blink a few times and give the guy standing next to me a weak smile, knowing he just saw me. He leans over and says, "Don't sweat it, man. I was trying to see the book too!"

Two stops later, I exit the train, my face still stinging.

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